Olympian Howard a doctor in the making

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque native Andrea Howard made her Olympic debut this summer with the Italian softball team.

Howard is a double major at the University of New Mexico, studying biology and psychology.

She said she loves playing for UNM softball, but she loves learning about the medical field even more.

“I was in a research class and my professor at the end of the semester was offering a student employee position to my classmates and I, so I decided to take him up on his offer,” she said.

Back in November, Howard joined the staff at UNMH to explore the fast-growing world of COVID-19 testing.

“We’re testing new devices to make COVID testing more accessible I guess to everyone and make it quicker for results,” Howard said.

Howard said she’s soaking in all the knowledge she can while working in COVID research.

“The doctors in the emergency department are so open for questions, and you know UNMH as a teaching hospital, so it’s awesome to be able to be in that environment,” she said. “It’s just been so much fun, I really appreciate to talk to patients in the emergency department and then able to work with them in learning kind of about their story."

Howard’s mom and dad are proud to see their daughter take on a job like that, especially during a pandemic.

“It takes a particular person to be a doctor to be in this field and I cannot stop her if this is what she really wants, you have to be really a different person that loves this work that loves this life of science,” said Cristina Howard.

One day her parents hope to call her Dr. Howard, but until then, many years of studying are ahead.

“I know that I would love to go to medical school, I’d love to be a doctor, I don’t know what kind of doctor, everywhere that I’ve looked at absolutely fell in love with it, every specialty I’ve seen, but I think it gives me hope to find something that I truly love in medicine,” Howard said.