Through a thorough academic program, a whole child philosophy, and a welcoming environment for both families and students, Concordia International School helps the members of our school find success in life.
A testament to our holistic approach to education is our talented graduates attending their best-fit colleges worldwide.
One such individual is Louise Atadja, an orthopedic surgery resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital – starting this past June.
With only 6.5% of practicing orthopedic surgeons in the US identifying as women – and even fewer being African American – this Concordia alumna is proud to be one of them, joining her other peers keeping the torch burning.
As a recent graduate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, the Concordia alumna has dreamed of this moment since she was a child.
“I actually wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon from a younger age,” Louise tells us. “I grew up loving bones, and actually taking anatomy in Concordia senior year made it come even more alive.”
Upon graduation from Concordia, she studied neuroscience at Amherst College, joining the Being Human in STEM Initiative to help create a curriculum encouraging scientific inquiry and confidence in young girls.
“As one of few women of color in my own major,” she says, “I became passionate about finding ways to increase diversity and specifically representation in our STEM classrooms.”
She even briefly considered a career in pediatric neurology, but her love of surgery quickly washed away that thought, with Louise even citing it as her calling.
With surgery on her mind, it was when she came face to face with a health issue that she knew which field in medicine she wanted to pursue.
“Everything came full circle when I faced my health challenges. I struggled with hip dysplasia – an abnormality of the hip joint preventing the thigh bone from properly connecting to the pelvis – and underwent multiple surgeries in my early adult years.”
She tells us the anatomy of her hip was so complex doctors ended up printing it in 3D model form to help her understand what was wrong.
“Here, I got to see the biomechanical complexity of the surgery, and I knew orthopedics was for me.”
This diagnosis also taught Louise some valuable lessons after undergoing not one but two surgeries on both hips – the latter occurring just weeks before starting medical school.
As a former college athlete, discovering she had hip dysplasia drastically shifted her active lifestyle.
“That first semester was incredibly challenging,” she says. “Without family in Dallas, my recovery was even more difficult.”
But through this hardship, Louise discovered she didn’t need to be a “superhero.”
“Ask for help when needed, and take advantage of your resources and community.”
Concordia helped Louise find her path.
In addition to anatomy, Dr. Gordon being a key milestone during her time at Concordia Shanghai International School– as mentioned above – Louise credits the fantastic community, drive, and spirit as guiding her in many areas of her life, “especially in medicine.”
She also mentions her time as captain of the track and cross-country team, helping her develop essential leadership skills that she still uses today.
“Medicine is a long journey, and I don’t think I would be able to do it without the support of my friends and family at Concordia and all over the world.”
Advice for young girls
For those considering a career in STEMM, Louise has some encouraging advice.
“The key to success is being both confident and humble. Look for those around you who will support you in your future goals — on the hard days, they will be the ones who get you through.”