2021 Visionaries to Watch: Alexandra Chu, Founder & Executive Director of MedCreate
Despite still being in high school, Alexandra Chu is working to make a change in both healthcare and education by merging the worlds of medicine and creativity through MedCreate.
The MedCreate organization shows everyone why creativity is vital in medicine while promoting empathy and imagination. They foster a community of enthusiastic students about these two topics through writing and art.
MedCreate creates change by breaking boundaries that are often thought infrangible in these fields.
Alexandra Chu Interview
Where did the inspiration to create MedCreate come from?
Alexandra Chu: One of the most frequently asked questions that my parents have asked me over the years (or that parents ask their kids in general) is, “What do you want to be?” However, I could never decide. I’ve often thought about going into medicine or another scientific field like several members of my family, but the humanities have also been prominent.
Over the years, I developed more interests in both of these fields. I currently work with several science-based organizations, and I try to volunteer at a local hospital whenever I can. On the other hand, I’m also a writer, artist, dancer, music producer, musician, professional figure skater, and martial artist.
With this many interests, it shouldn’t surprise me that I felt torn between the two disciplines. I was young, but I was already disappointed at the fact that at some point in the future, I would have to make a choice.
One day, I had a realization that maybe I didn’t have to make a choice. Instead of choosing between the sciences and the humanities, what if I could find a way to connect or merge them instead? So, that’s what I tried to do. I spent years dedicated to this question: brainstorming, researching, and talking to professionals.
In July of 2020, I decided to use my passion and what I had learned to start a nonprofit organization to help other students foster their interests in medicine and the humanities.
We’re seeing more and more young leaders become advocates and agents of change in their teens. Why do you think that is?
Alexandra Chu: Members of Gen Z were born into a world of the internet, arguably one of the most important inventions of the last century. In these societies where information can become widely known in seconds, teenagers can learn about world issues at young ages.
Since they gain knowledge at an earlier age, they can also apply their knowledge and create change at an earlier age.
Another possible reason could tie into college applications. In recent years, college admissions have become highly competitive. Students need ways to show their uniqueness, and many choose to utilize their passions and start passion projects that work towards change.
This isn’t to say that people only become leaders and innovators to get into college; instead, many students use college as motivation to further their work as changemakers.
What would you tell your peers across the nation to do if they want to start their own businesses, organizations, initiatives, or campaigns during their high school careers?
Alexandra Chu: Go for it! There will be days when you might regret your decision to start your passion project, and that’s okay. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget how much work is actually needed to start a business or organization. However, if you’re willing to dedicate the time and the resources, then beginning an initiative will be highly worthwhile.
For me, founding MedCreate was a rather spontaneous decision: I was very passionate about my mission, but I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. Because of that, after a few months, I felt intimidated by the number of things I still had to do. I was so burnt out that I thought about shutting down my organization, but I decided to continue on. That was likely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
There’s no shame in feeling like you’ve made a mistake. Regret and mistakes are what push us to be better, so make sure they act as your crucible and not your downfall.