Lily Johnson is a student at Franklin High School who recently won our National Trivia Day competition that the New Hampshire GEAR UP Alliance featured on our Instagram. When she’s not participating in Instagram trivia, Lily is a straight A student and the valedictorian of her graduating class, she participates in 3-4 sports during the school year, and she also serves as a student representative on Franklin’s school board, among many other leadership opportunities. We were so impressed with her involvement at school and in her community that we reached out to ask her a few questions about her upcoming college plans.

Lily’s college experience began with participating in Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) during the summer of 2022. YYGS is a prestigious two-week summer program that brings students from all over the world together to collaborate on current international topics and gain insight around different global perspectives. Lily heard about this awesome opportunity because of an email that she received from the New Hampshire GEAR UP Alliance.

There are different programs that you can center your YYGS experience around while attending, and Lily thought she’d be more interested in the Innovation, Science, and Technology program because it aligns with her career path, but then she read about the Solving Global Challenges program and chose that instead. “I realized that’s the end goal of my career,” she shared. “Trying to help people as opposed to some of the more technical aspects […] I’m trying to think about how we could use [scientific] findings to help change the world.”

YYGS proved to be an enriching opportunity. There wasn’t anything Lily didn’t love about the experience, but her favorite thing was interacting with the family group she’d been placed into both socially and academically. Lily was most excited about how many different international students were involved, and how the differences in all the students’ identities didn’t hold them back. “I was blown away by how similar we are, even though we‘re from different backgrounds,” she said. “We found the ways we were similar and all got along very well, and we balanced each other out.”

Lily plans on attending Dartmouth College in the fall, and the college’s diversity is part of the reason she applied Early Decision and ensured her spot there. “I’m looking forward to the community,” she said. “There are so many international kids there, and I already know that I love interactions with my friends that are international. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, but we all have shared passion.”

Lily plans to get her Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Med, and while that often leads to careers as a medical doctor, Lily has her sights set on becoming a naturopathic doctor, which focuses more on research-driven homeopathic medicine from all over the world. She hopes to take her experience learning about solving global challenges from Yale Young Global Scholars, and what she learns at Dartmouth, into medicine. She emphasized how being open to different perspectives would help her to understand what her patients, from all walks of life, need when they come to her.

Lily dreams big. Her ultimate goal is creating a more inclusive medical field, whether that be through advocacy for her patients and their specific experiences, or by creating more space for different types of doctors like herself. She recognizes this dream will take time, as a change does, but she has faith that she can create a lasting impact.