One man, many hats

Netter School of Medicine student works to be teacher, author, activist


Stephen MacLeod

Richard Ferro balances the busy life of a medical student with his other passions

Stephen MacLeod, News Editor

Richard Ferro has a lot of dreams.

Some days he pours all of his efforts into 24 hour shifts at Waterbury Hospital. Some days he devotes himself to activism as a member of the Northeast Regional Board of the Latino Medical Student Association. 

Ferro loves his work. He was rejected from medical school three times, so he is making the most of his opportunities as he enters his third year at the Netter School of Medicine. 

Yet he is unsatisfied, so he finds new challenges. One summer, he helped teach New Haven students about the human brain. He worked to help start a Quinnipiac chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association before joining the regional board. 

“Whenever I do these things, I don’t necessarily see, I never really see them as, ‘Oh, I need to do this because I need to build my resume,’” Ferro said. “I do it because it’s something that I think fulfills me.”

Ferro has other dreams too. He sees himself as a creative person and in his free time he muses on science fiction. 

His iPad, emblazoned with a NASA logo, is full of notes. Some of them are simply photos he enjoys that stir up some creativity. One is of a satellite hovering above the planet. Other pages are full of doodles of the sights and sounds of the future he muses about. Others are notes on story development, characters and world-building. Sometimes, he argues with himself in the shower about his ideas. He put the ideas together to craft a story. He was encouraged by a professor, Dr. Lisa Conti, to publish it. 

The story is called “Horizons, a science-fiction novella. Ferro self-published the book on Jan. 1. He sees the story as an extension of his life and passions. 

“I realized, especially this last year, that I think that this is a thing that actually is very beneficial for me in terms of helping me clear my head,” Ferro said. “It helps me to really kind of understand what’s going on in my own life. So I felt like I just couldn’t just ignore it anymore.”

The protagonist is a member of the Latino community, like Ferro. She also has lofty goals that she fights for. He compares her failures to fly into space with his rejection like medical school. He says although the story is science fiction, it is grounded in the reality of everyday struggles and failures. 

He hopes the story speaks to other people struggling to find their place in the world. As for Ferro, he hopes to write an entire series. 

His book is available on Amazon.