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Since she grew up in Middle Tennessee, Mildred Stahlman, M.D., knows much about the area. Her father was the owner of the Nashville Banner, the longtime afternoon newspaper. His hobbies included raising pheasants, doves, ducks and geese; her mother raised chickens. Together they owned a parrot, ponies for the kids, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, dogs, cats, and a baby groundhog. Caring for all of these animals taught Stahlman and her sister responsibility and the value of hard work. Ann Stahlman Hill, her sister, was a year older, which meant that each year a new set of teachers expected younger sister Mildred to live up to her older sister’s high standards. Mildred Stahlman excelled in school not only because she was being compared to her extremely smart sister, but also because her father simply expected it of her. She was also strong in the arts and athletics as well as academics. She took ballet and acrobatic dance as a child and studied piano for seven years. She attended a summer camp for five years in a row, learning to fence and jump horses exceedingly well. Raised in an environment of high expectations, Stahlman excelled inside and outside of the classroom.
World War II raged just as she entered college. Stahlman, by going to school year round, completed both college and medical school in just five and a half years. This shortened schooling made it harder to learn the essentials. The compressed schedule was made easier by the very complete education she had received in high school.
 “You don’t educate yourself in medicine, you educate yourself for the kind of life you want to lead,” she said. “The more broadly you educate yourself, the more successful you will be.” Stahlman said she grew up reading books very advanced for her age merely because they were available to her, and she encourages a very “classical” education. She took three years of French, five years of Latin, three years of German, and learned some Swedish when she studied the care of newborns in Sweden. Stahlman believes that especially in the field of academic medicine you can never stop learning. She makes a point to read science journals and to work with people in newer areas such as molecular biology, so she can adapt to the changes. The fact that her research has saved the lives of thousands of babies is proof that Stahlman’s rigorous training paid off.
 Stahlman’s views on education really make me value the education I am receiving. At my school one has a choice of several languages and we can focus on one, or choose two to study for shorter periods. Our school allows access to the library throughout the school day, and the library offers many books well above the average eighth-grade level. Also, our more advanced students are encouraged to teach the students having trouble, which is something Stahlman encourages. It is a great comfort to know that my schooling at least begins to meet her standards.

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