Both Connie and I (John) were drawn to Wheaton for the opportunity to obtain a liberal arts education that incorporated teachings in Christian theology. We considered our faith to be the foundation of our lives and future careers, so it made sense to make it the foundation of our education as well. I majored in biology and did the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program in Guatemala. Connie majored in chemistry and international relations. Connie was a member of the class of 2004 and I the class of 2005. We actually never met while we were attending Wheaton!
In fact, we first met during the summer of 2005 when we were both deliberating whether to attend medical school in Israel at a program called the Medical School for International Health. We ended up enrolling together that same year; we started dating the following year and were married in 2013. After medical school, Connie completed a general surgery residency and I completed a medicine/pediatrics residency followed by a fellowship in infectious diseases. This past year, we moved to western Kenya where we now work for Indiana University at the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) program. Connie spends her time operating and teaching surgery to Kenyan medical trainees, and she also conducts trauma research. I see patients in an HIV clinic and at the children’s hospital and conduct HIV research.
For us, moving to Kenya was the fulfillment of a decade-long career goal to work as physicians in a setting with limited resources. Here, we encounter opportunities to help the poor and sick every time we walk into the hospital. Here, the call to follow Jesus’ commandment to serve them feels urgent and tangible. Working in Kenya has its challenges, though. It is frustrating to watch people suffer while knowing that there are lifesaving medical tests and treatments in countries like the United States that are unavailable here. Still, we do our best to look for silver linings and hopeful moments whenever they happen - and they happen often!
We are grateful to have studied at Wheaton. I look back on my HNGR internship in Guatemala as a life changing experience that set me on the path I am on today. Connie looks back on Dr. Sandra Joireman’s course on African politics as a major influence in her life. We are both keenly aware that we have acquired educations and careers that few people in the world could ever access. Yet we have still experienced disappointment along the way. We could each list dozens of medical schools, fellowships, jobs, and other opportunities that we have applied to and been rejected from over the years. For us, success meant not being crushed by those disappointments and finding new paths and goals to pursue. Amidst discouraging circumstances, it is helpful to step back and view things as God might view them – as part of a bigger picture and greater purpose than we recognize them to be at the time.
John Humphrey ’05 majored in biology and attained a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR), and Connie Keung ’04 majored in chemistry and international relations. They are married and recently moved to western Kenya where they work for Indiana University at the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) program: Connie is a surgeon, and John sees patients in an HIV clinic and at the children’s hospital and conducts HIV research.
Photo: Humphrey and Connie in front of the AMPATH Centre, where they work in Kenya; Connie operating alongside one of her Kenyan colleagues; John teaching a Kenyan medical student.