Faculty, students and staff at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso often refer to themselves as “TTUHSC El Paso family,” but in the case of Cyd and Maddie Goldfarb, nothing could be more true.
In July, Cyd began her new job as senior director of admissions and recruitment for the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine. On the same day that Cyd arrived for new employee orientation, her daughter Maddie attended orientation for first-year Paul L. Foster School of Medicine students.
Cyd and Maddie said that beginning new career and academic journeys, respectively, wasn’t something they planned in advance. But they are delighted their paths led them to TTUHSC El Paso at the same time.
Prior to TTUHSC El Paso, Cyd worked as a counselor at El Paso High School, helping students choose colleges and universities and assisting them with the application process.
“When I heard that the dental school was opening up, it was something that I kept my eye on, because I was interested in going to the other side (college admissions),” Cyd said. As senior director, she will lead the effort of recruiting the dental school’s inaugural class, which will begin their studies in 2021.
“I am super excited about the potential for the dental school, and its impact on El Paso, and I want to be on the ground floor of bringing in the students,” Cyd said.
While Cyd was keeping up to date on the dental school’s development, Maddie was finishing her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and applying to medical schools. She was accepted into the Foster School of Medicine’s class of 2023. Maddie is interested in pediatrics, but has not yet decided on a specialty in that field.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of this class,” Maddie said. “It makes me feel excited, and I know that the medical school has come really far in the 10 years since it opened. We’ve watched the campus slowly grow from afar. I’m really excited to see where it goes over the next four years that I’m here and in the future.”
Cyd said the Foster School of Medicine “was one of Maddie’s top choices, so of course we are happy to have her home. I knew that I was going to apply to the dental school position but never really thought about us starting on the exact same day and coming to school together with our lunchboxes.”
Maddie said one thing that drew her to the Foster School of Medicine is its emphasis on public health and community outreach.
Finding ways of caring for others and improving communities was a big part of her experience at UT Austin, she said. In 2015, Maddie visited Nicaragua with the UT Austin chapter of Global Medical Training to help set up free medical services and recruit staff to operate clinics. Their efforts made health care accessible to nearly 500 patients, she said.
“I got involved with going to Nicaragua because of my experiences working with underserved communities here in El Paso, and as an opportunity to use my Spanish,” Maddie said.
“Even though countries and cultures are different, there’s a universal language among humans,” Maddie said, recalling her Nicaragua experience. “As long as you go in with an open mind and show care and compassion, patients tend to respond in the same way.”
The spirit of community service runs in the family, Cyd said.
“My husband and I have always tried to get the kids involved from an early age, whether planting trees or collecting things (for charitable donations), because as a community, you are only as good as you give back,” She said. “We’re very proud of all of our children because all three of them give back in ways which are dear to their hearts.”
Cyd and Maddie are looking forward to their new ventures at TTUHSC El Paso.
“It’s exciting that we’re doing this together, even though that wasn’t really the plan,” Cyd said.
“For Maddie, I’ve always tried to show her, as a female, to be empowered, to not be afraid and to take chances. I think for both of us, this is an opportunity that we both took a chance on, and here we are. I joke that I swear I’m not a helicopter mother.”
“But she followed me!” Maddie said with a laugh.