While Dr. Ami Siems was drawn to the medical field because of her love of science and the opportunities such a career would afford her, it was really her love and passion for people and building relationships that has fueled her career over the past 30 years.
Upon completing her biochemistry degree at Southern Nazarene University in 1981, she realized that conducting research in a lab was not her calling and becoming a physician was the best way for her to interact with other, as well as help invest in their lives.
“It’s not the science of medicine, but the interpersonal relationships that I really get excited about,” said Dr. Siems. “I love days when I look at my schedule and see that I have good friends coming in that I’ve been treating for 20 years.”
During her time as a student, Dr. Siems said it was the relationships she formed with her follow students and professors that she treasures the most and were most instrumental in helping develop her into who she is today. She especially credited Dr. Sharon Young, Dr. Robert Judd, and Dr. Leo Finkenbinder as having a very special place in her heart.
“All three were wonderful friends,” she added. “They took such an interest in all of our lives.”
Dr. Siems rich Nazarene heritage was one of the driving factors that led her to Bethany, Oklahoma as a student. She said that all of her sisters attended Nazarene schools with two of her older sisters having attended SNU.
Now, Dr. Siems’ deep heritage with SNU has been extended to a new generation. For one, she has been working at SNU as the campus physician since 1997 and serves as the medical director of SNU’s athletic training department, in addition to still maintaining her private practice in Yukon, Oklahoma. Furthermore, Dr. Siems’ daughter Mary is carrying on her legacy as she is currently enrolled as a senior biochemistry student at SNU.
In looking ahead to the future, Siems hopes her family’s legacy with SNU will continue for generations to come, which is why she is passionate about the positive impact the university’s Campaign for the Sciences will have in preparing future science and medical students to meet the ever changing needs of their professions. “I never wanted my children to go into medicine especially with the current climate, but it’s a little humbling because she very smart and works very hard,” she said. “It’s been very interesting to watch her to go through the classes that I took and watch her do better in those classes than I did.”
“The science building is the exact same as when I went to school 30 years ago, but the students are not the same and the level of education is not the same,” said Dr. Siems. “Everything, including technology, has advanced over the last 30 years and to give the students and professors a state-of-the-art facility will help the science department take off to a new level.”