Kat Lundeberg, Junior Student Osteopathic Officer of the Year
“We are a reflection of the opportunities we pursue and the individuals we keep around us,” insisted Kat Lundeberg, shaking off the praises that accompany her seemingly ever-growing list of accomplishments. When asked to discuss her latest achievement — being named the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons’ Junior Student Osteopathic Officer of the Year — Lundeberg had a perfect opportunity to finally brag about her successes.
She could have filled a page with quotes on her time as the president of the Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons, or her role as the vice president of her medical school’s Women in Medicine Club. She could have spotlighted her student ambassadorship and Roots to Wings mentorship, or detailed her commitment to our military as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. She could have discussed the winding road she traveled to become a first-generation college student, and ultimately an osteopathic medical student.
Instead, she resorted to the humbleness that has shaped her life.
Truthfully, she explained, her accomplishments aren’t a result of some superior talent or even some unexplainable energy. Instead, she insists, they can all be credited to one simple fact: she can’t seem to say “no.”
Growing up in a working-class family, Lundeberg came to understand the value of an opportunity at an early age. Her grandmother, a retired school teacher, would steep her in intellectual encouragement as her mother, a grocery store clerk, worked longed hours to put food on the table. Even as a child, she noticed and admired her mom’s work ethic and commitment to being present.
“Despite her work schedule, she never missed a dance recital, track meet, soccer game, or symphony performance,” Lundeberg explained. Inspired, she committed to mirroring that hard working, no-excuses attitude, vowing to never give less than 100% of herself. She refused to be incompetent, or to pass up any chance to learn and grow. She would do whatever it took to gain the experience she needed to help others, even if it meant overwhelming her own schedule.
“We may doubt or second guess ourselves at points,” said Lundeberg, “but saying ‘no’ one time opens a door to say ‘no’ in the future. I know how it feels to be let down or disappointed, and I refuse to be the cause of that feeling in someone else.”
That refusal has left her with a constantly-overflowing to-do list, but she insists she wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I can only hope that my future residency directors, colleagues and supervisors will see my accomplishments as a testament to my dedication and passion,” she continued. “I am pursuing being the best version of myself, and while I’m very grateful for the accolades that accompany that commitment, I believe they represent the work I still have to do, and a higher standard to live up to.”