After early graduation, med student joins the battle – Eagle-Tribune

METHUEN Schyla Wante stood in her living room and marked a major life accomplishment: graduating from UMass medical schoolin a virtual ceremony.

"Our graduation was supposed to be May 31. We graduated exactly two months early," said Wante, 27, a Methuen native.

While she had planned to take some down time and travel to Nice and Croatia with friends, Wante is beingdeployed to the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"The need is there. We are hoping to take the burden off the health care system and take the burden off people who are being overworked," said Wante, a 2011 graduate of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence.

Gov. Charlie Baker allowed Massachusetts medical students to graduate early so they can help tens of thousands people across the state infected with COVID-19.

Wante previously thought she'd work in an emergency department. Now that training is fast-tracked, she expects to be placed in one of five hospitals affiliated with the University of Massachusetts.

"I never expected to graduate under these type of circumstances," Wante said.

She said the situation is "nerve-racking," but she also has some "nervous excitement" about stepping into the medical world so suddenly.

"I really want to do anything I can to help," she said.

Schyla is the daughter of Laura and Mark Wante and has a younger sister, Jennifer, 24.

Her sister was diagnosed with diabetes at a "really young age," which was a driving factor in Schyla's interest in medicine, she said.

She previously volunteered in hospice care and as medical scribe at Lawrence General Hospital from 2015 to 2016.

She also has a strong interest in global health issues and education. In February, along with other medical students, she traveled to Peru to treat tuberculosis and longstanding HIV positive patients.

While away she was keeping an eye on COVID-19 and the path the virus was taking across the globe. She never expected it to come to this, she said.

It's a very "solemn time" in medicine right now, she said. "But I do feel this a responsibility we have," she said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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After early graduation, med student joins the battle - Eagle-Tribune

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