- Specialty: Pediatrics
- Fun fact: She has a passion for music and has performed at dozens of venues and recorded songs, one of which played on a local public radio station, at a major studio.
- Matched Residency Program: Seattle Children's Hospital at the University of Washington
Meet Natalie Chapkis
Natalie Chapkis was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. Since then, she’s lived all around the country and the world: Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Sweden.
Starting medical school at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (DGSOM) felt like coming home.
“It's just been so nice to go full circle and come back to where it all started for me,” she says.
Natalie’s journey came full circle in more ways than one. During her obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) rotation, she helped deliver a baby at Cedars-Sinai. Being part of new beginnings turned out to be her passion.
“I decided to become a pediatrician after I saw my first birth,” she says. “It was a C-section, and there was so much excitement in the room, and I just remember everyone preparing to do anything this baby needed.”
A Day in the Life of a Med Student: Preparing for Match Day
To prepare for pediatric residency applications and interviews, Natalie focused on researching the programs, considering what they might want from a resident, and mentally modeling what she could offer.
“It was exciting to imagine myself in different places.”
After completing the application process, Natalie kept calm by exploring rotations in areas she knew she wouldn’t focus on as a pediatrician, such as transfusion pathology.
“I got to branch out and explore areas that I might not get to see again.”
Waiting for Match Day, when medical students across the United States learn where they match for residency, Natalie reflected on her med-school experience, particularly the people who supported her every step of the way.
“I am so appreciative to DGSOM for the friendships I have formed as they have been essential to my journey throughout medical school to Match Day and have been the strongest bonds I have ever experienced,” Natalie says.
“And I could not have done this without my family. I always like to say that my medical degree is dedicated to them because they’ve always been there for me, my entire life. The amount of support they've shown me throughout my entire career, but especially during this time, is unmatched.”
Natalie also expressed gratitude for her advisor, Dr. Holly Middlekauff.
“Having her guide me through this process has been wonderful, and I would not replace her mentorship.”
Advice to Future Med Students
Natalie offers uplifting advice for future UCLA medical students pursuing any specialty.
“Develop an unwavering belief in yourself,” she says. “UCLA picked you for a reason, and you're going to do well, no matter where you go, and you're going to figure out what you care about, and how best to serve your patients.”
Looking Forward: Residency and Beyond
Natalie matched into a pediatrics residency program at the University of Washington Seattle Children's Hospital, her top choice.
“I am thrilled to match into pediatrics at Seattle Children's because of their strong commitment to treating children from diverse backgrounds, their state-of-the art neonatal intensive care unit (I would like to become a neonatologist), and the warmth I felt from the residents and faculty during my interview day.”
Natalie says she’ll be taking DGSOM with her to Seattle and wherever her career takes her after residency.
“I’m extremely thankful to DGSOM for introducing me to my love of pediatrics. From working in the Harbor-UCLA delivery room to preceptoring with a pediatric otolaryngologist, all my experiences at DGSOM will continue to shape my future as a pediatrician.”