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Thunderbird Outstanding Graduate Student, physician dreams of scaling global health care

Emergency doctor stays motivated by gratitude, a need to serve others


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April 24, 2023

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates

Dr. June Lau was already immersed in a career in medicine when she came across Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, previously working as an emergency physician in her home country of Malaysia. 

“My experience in emergency medicine was characterized by its highly charged and intense nature, which exposed me to the harsh realities of health care. This has instilled in me a strong sense of duty and passion to make a significant impact in the field of health care,” Lau said.

June Lau portrait
June Lau

While at a career fair, Lau spoke with a Thunderbird alumnus and was instantly intrigued by the school’s unique concentrations, which she considered crucial for her desired transition to global health care.

“My objective is to leverage my skills and experience to bring about transformative changes in emerging technologies, health care policies, delivery systems and investments,” she said.

She will graduate this spring with a Master of Global Management (MGM) – and as Thunderbird’s Spring 2023 Outstanding Graduate Student.

During her time at the school, Lau delved into more than just her academic pursuits and aspirations to expand health care on a global scale. She actively engaged with MedTech startups in various capacities, and is developing her own startup, which focuses on healthy aging and rehabilitation. Lau serves as co-president of Thunderbird Women in Business, podcast director of the student-run newspaper Das Tor and campus ambassador, among other positions.

Lau is also a SHARE Fellowship recipient, a prestigious program founded by Thunderbird alumnus Marshall Parke '77 to develop changemakers from emerging and developing countries.

“I feel immense gratitude towards Marshall Parke '77 for establishing the Thunderbird SHARE Fellowship, which has granted me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue my passion for improving health care and making the world a better place,” Lau said.

“Maria Houle, the director of the SHARE Fellowship at Thunderbird, has been a constant source of support and strength for me, and I am deeply grateful to her. The SHARE Fellowship committee's unwavering faith in me has also been instrumental in my journey.”

As Lau continues her quest to improve health care for all post-graduation, she stays motivated by a need to serve others and a gratitude for the people who got her this far.

“I am continually inspired by the incredible resilience and perseverance demonstrated by people during challenging times. I am grateful for my patients and the lessons they have shared with me. Above all, though, I am grateful to my family and friends in Malaysia, who have been a constant support system and have helped me stay grounded throughout my journey.”

Question: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

Answer: Health care. I firmly believe that health is a fundamental right that should be accessible to everyone. My goals are aimed at benefiting all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances. By leveraging technology, health care systems and delivery can be improved, resulting in better care and an overall enhancement in the quality of life. This, in turn, can contribute to a nation's growth and productivity.

Q: What motivates or inspires you?

A: For me, people serve as an immense source of inspiration and motivation. I am continually inspired by the incredible resilience and perseverance demonstrated by people during challenging times. Witnessing one’s ability to rise above adversity drives me to strive for self-improvement each day. In fact, some of the most profound lessons I have learned in life have come from my patients.

Q: What do you love about being a T-bird?

A: Being a part of the renowned Thunderbird Mystique is something that brings me great joy. It's an opportunity of a lifetime to be amongst individuals from diverse backgrounds who share a common passion for creating a positive impact on the world. Through our shared global experiences, we aspire to make the world a better place.

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