Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Stephanie Summa attended Rochester Institute of Technology to become a Physician Assistant. After completing a year of rotations in various fields such as Internal Medicine, Emergency, OBGYN, and Pediatrics with Pediatric Oncology, Stephanie began working as a PA at Unity Hospital. Stephanie will be joining a team of physicians and other clinical officers in Mwandi Mission Hospital of Mwandi, Zambia. Learn more about Stephanie and her vision and hope for her time volunteering in Zambia.

CMMB volunteer post: Physician Assistant at Mwandi Mission Hospital in Zambia, Africa. 


If you were asked to sum yourself up in two words, which two would you choose? Joyful and dedicated.

Why did you choose CMMB? It was the first thing that popped up in my google search! Ever since hearing about the missionary stories once or twice a year on those few Sunday’s when the missionary was in town, I have had a desire to work in a needy community overseas. Being a physician assistant further cemented this desire and gave me a new skill set that could be of use. This past year with all of the tragic news of war, politics, natural disasters, and famines, I felt spurred into action to do more. It didn’t help that I was seemingly stuck in the section of the Bible where Jesus healed those on the outskirts of society. All of these things led to the perfect storm, and when I typed “Catholic Medical Mission” into google, the rest was history! Once I read more about the organization I was hooked. I was inspired by their vision of every human life being valued and their mission to get there, by using sustainable solutions. Lastly, CMMB’s inclusion of their values (love, collaboration, excellence, and respect) into their mission, further inspired me to want to be a part of it.

What are you most proud of?
I think right now in my life I am most proud of my mother. Here I am moving thousands of miles away and she has not tried to change my mind once! Instead, she has been extremely supportive.

Imagine you are stuck in an elevator. Who would you most like to be stuck with? And why?
My initial thought was an elevator mechanic, but I don’t think that was the answer you were looking for. During CMMB orientation I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Harry, a previous volunteer who had been to South Sudan and spent most of his career working in developing countries. If I did happen to get stuck in an elevator, I’d like to get stuck with him to hear more of his stories, gather more pearls of wisdom, and to get a brief overview of tropical medicine and tricks of the trade! But, until an elevator breaks down I guess communication via email will have to suffice!

You are featured in the New York Times. What’s the headline?
“Local Woman Breaks 3,000 Year-Old Vase!”

What’s your theme song? Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”

Imagine if you were an animal. Which would you be and why?
A monkey! They are extremely interactive and have such fun relationships with each other. They are also very intelligent. And who wouldn’t want to swing around the jungle and climb tall trees?

What is your hope for your experience volunteering with CMMB?
I hope to gain better global awareness through my experience with CMMB. I also look forward to learning from the people I will encounter along the way,  and growing spiritually, emotionally, and professionally. My wish, is that I get the chance to help the communities and people I work with through healing and educating. I then hope to bring all the lessons I learn through the experiences I have back home with me so that I might inspire people on the home front into action to make a difference in their own communities.

Favorite quote: “Do small things with great love.” Mother Theresa

What book should everyone read? Why?
I think everyone should read “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. It shows the importance of clear communication and not jumping to conclusions or developing biases. I also admire the character Elizabeth Bennett for her love of learning and devotion to her family and friends, and who doesn’t love a happy ending!

Who would you like to play you in the movie of your life? Amy Poehler What is your hope for the future?
A world where every person feels loved and valued

If you could solve one world problem, what would it be?
Easy access to clean water! Such a simple thing many of us take for granted, but yet many lack. I think by solving this problem we would make huge positive gains in health outcomes and food supply.


What are the three things you are most grateful for?
My loving family and friends, sunshine, and the ability of movement.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
Mother Theresa, for her humbleness and dedication to our Lord

I want to be a volunteer! 

I want to support an international volunteer