For the next four years, Karen juggled jobs, motherhood and school. "I was always working two and three different jobs," she says. "One of my biggest fears is that by me going after this goal, I would neglect them so I always made sure that I was at all their school functions and I'd check their homework and I'd make sure that their clothes were out for the next day, and we would sit down and we'd do homework together."
Karen eventually became a nurse and a grandmother, but a little voice inside told her she could have more. "I finally had to admit to myself that I still wanted to be a doctor," she says. "I could not bring myself to say it out loud to anyone. I was just so afraid that people would think I was crazy."
Quietly, she began applying to medical schools. "I remember filling out every application and thinking, 'They're just going to laugh this application off their desk,'" she says.
Not only did they not laugh, but Karen became the first grandmother ever to enter the Yale School of Medicine! "It just blew me away. When I was dreaming, I don't think I had dreamt this big," she says.