Both a mom and a med student: one woman’s midlife career change

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Medical student Regan Causey Tuder, age 43, holds the envelope that will reveal where she will do her residency.

Medical student Regan Causey Tuder, age 43, holds the envelope that will reveal where she will do her residency.

Growing up, Regan Causey Tuder heard something that a lot of young women hear.

“I had been told by my high school physics teacher that I didn’t have a brain for science,” she says, “and I had been told by my college calculus TA that I wasn’t that smart. I just felt that that was what I was.”

Tuder considered becoming a doctor when she was younger, particularly because her father was a doctor.

“He’s my absolute hero,” she says.

But she also loved art, and she was convinced she wasn’t cut out for medicine. Ultimately, she studied art history.

Tuder married her husband, Jeff, at 22 and became a full-time mom when they started having children.

“It’s not something I questioned,” she said. “To me, the roles had been decided. We had decided that Jeff was supporting us and that his career was important.”

Eventually, Tuder got another degree in architecture and started a business renovating historic houses. She enjoyed her job, and by this time she had three kids with Jeff.

But, at the age of 37, something started to nag at her. Her father was older and couldn’t practice medicine anymore, and she was doing volunteer work around healthcare for homeless families.

“I just felt compelled to try med school,” she says.

So Tuder applied to a post-baccalaureate program at Temple University. Nearly two decades after her undergraduate career, she found herself in science classes alongside teenagers and twentysomethings.

Unlike some of her classmates, Tuder had responsibilities outside school. She was determined to still be there for her children during her career change.

“I would just drag my huge backpack with all my textbooks to every soccer field, swimming pool, whatever they were doing,” she remembers.

Now, Tuder is 43 and about to graduate from medical school. The Pulse joined her on Match Day, when she was about to find out where she would do her residency. Her husband and her children stood beside her, and she had her father’s stethoscope in her pocket.

Listen to the full story above.

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