In her sophomore year as a pre-medical student at Harvard University, Meghan McCullough made a life-changing career decision: to train for a chance to make it to the Olympics or fulfill her ambition to become a doctor.

Her choice to retire from competitive ice dancing at age 21, while difficult, led her to where she is now: a USC plastic surgery resident and Tsao Global Surgery Fellow.

“I was one of those strange people who, from an early age, it just kind of clicked,” she said. Not only did she know she wanted to be a doctor, she wanted to be a plastic surgeon. “It was a good combination of my natural aptitude in science and my love of art and sculpture and working with my hands — and then just the desire to help people.”

Her years of ice skating training taught McCullough valuable skills that translated well to the grueling surgery lifestyle. She was already accustomed to managing her time efficiently, functioning on little sleep and being receptive to feedback.