Thursday, August 08, 2019

She Believed She Could So She Did

Forest fires are burning around the area and enhancing the August sun.

Susie Syth-Keely, Karren Williams, Annie Love

Photo taken four years ago when classmates and friends, Karren and Susie, came to the house for a visit AND for the two world adventurers, Karren and Annie, to meet in person. 

"August 8th the research I worked on will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

For those in research and academics you know what this means: the holy grail for publications in medicine. 

Over a 90% rejection rate and an impact factor no other journal is close to, and my name is listed as an author with world famous researchers and physicians - an honor that is tough to really comprehend.

Why does it matter to me? Because in high school I was told by teachers I wouldn’t make it through college. 

Had I listened to them I would not be where I am. They forgot the difference between ability and desire.   

I had no desire to do anything but have fun in high school. 

 It wasn’t about my ability. When I desired to excel in academics and my career- I did.

She believed she could so she did."

                                 ----Dr. Karren Williams,
                                                         Sandpoint High Class of 1977 graduate


In a way, the Facebook posting above represents a brutally honest lesson for both teachers and students about both the heart and belief system of human beings. 

Students, and pretty much most people, at any time in their lives, are constant works in progress.

The words "can't" and "won't" usually don't serve any useful purpose when we are striving to improve in any aspect of our lives----unless their utterance makes us all the more determined. 

Karren Williams' story offers a dramatic example of just that, and, happily, people on many fronts have benefitted in so many ways because of her inner desire to make the most out of her life.   

She knew what she wanted in life.  Others may have misinterpreted her strong will "to have fun" at the time. 

Oh, what a will there has been with this phenomenal lady!

A partial rundown of her"after high school" academic journey . . . 

. . .After completing a PhD at State University of New York, Karren completed an internship at Brown University Medical Center and received speciality training in fMRI brain mapping at Barrow neurological institute in Phoenix.

"I joined pharmaceuticals working in medical affairs," she says. "I have experienced all aspects of research while working in medical affairs, and the most recent project led to this publication. 

Karren’s research continues to be with orphan diseases, developing treatments for patients with rare and fatal diseases.


If ever there were a match for our daughter Annie in both seeking out and setting out on unique and fascinating world adventures, Karren shares that drive and desire, acting upon both time after time after time.

Dr. Karren Williams also never forgets her roots, often summoning high school friends to join her on those adventures or sending random gifts of thoughtfulness. 

I've got a pair of Border Collie socks to prove it.

By the way, Karren, I've worn a few holes in the socks since you sent them to me a few years ago. 

The list could go on and on with Karren's many friends offering testimonials as recipients of her thoughtfulness.

Happily, she has continually shared the fruits of her amazing career and worldwide travel experiences with those who "knew her when. 

As her English teacher and Ponderette drill team adviser, I have long marveled at Karren's zest for life and continued sense of adventure along with her impressive career achievements. 

As an example, she spoke at last year's Fourth World Congress of Rare Diseases and Orphan Drugs in Dublin, Ireland.  

The following link offers an explanation of the disease in which the Journal article focuses:

I'm so proud this morning to share her news of being published today in medicine's most prestigious peer-reviewed periodical. 

She participated in the research through her affiliation with Akcea Therapeutics.

Published weekly by the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Journal's first publication appeared in 1812. 

Here is a link to today's article in the Journal.

Congratulations, Doc. We are proud of you.  

And, I'm sure as a proud Ponderette alum, you are SMILING today. 

You deserve it. 

Happy Thursday. 

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