Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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5 Questions with Megan DiFurio ’90

JULY 2023

Mefan DiFurioMegan graduated from Simon’s Rock with her BA in Chemistry and later attended the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she received her MD. Megan then joined the United States Army and completed her residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in anatomic and clinical pathology, and fellowship at Brooke Army Medical Center in cytopathology. She lives in North Carolina alongside her husband and fellow Army veteran, Michael Sundborg. They have three children, Avery (who just completed her first year at Simon’s Rock), Molly, and Peter.

What is your hope for your daughter while she is studying at Simon’s Rock?

I want Avery to be able to show others how awesome she is. To not know her would be a loss. Avery is quiet in class and she wondered if her teachers would assume she didn’t know anything because of this. I told her that teachers at Simon’s Rock are different, and they’d notice her gifts and abilities. When we came to Family Weekend and met with her teachers, they all expressed that Avery was a great student and appreciated her for that.

Can you define what your time in the military has meant to you?

Less than 1% of the United States served in the military, but truthfully, the entire family of whoever is serving should also be included in that count. You give up so many things and control over a portion of your life. For me it was 14½ years and for my husband, it was 33½ years. You gain things too. It was one of the few places where I really felt like I was part of a bigger team. In many ways we were fighting to protect each other and to protect ourselves from the government running us. That’s the biggest problem with the military. The civilians in charge are just not caring about the large group of people that are trying their best to help the country, which is the fundamental job of the military. I was never deployed. My husband spent a year in Iraq though. He and his medical team built the first hospital in the Abu Ghraib prison. He said it was horrific there. I’ve seen the best and the worst in people during my time in the military. I learned to lead by example, to not punish, and if necessary, to do it in private and to not embarrass others or put them down. Praise should be practiced regularly too. I learned to be a leader who could help others become successful. I don’t know if I would have learned that if I had not joined the Army.

If you could visit another planet in the solar system, which one would you choose?

My entire family has an answer to this question. My husband is an amateur astronomer and owns several telescopes and we live on 11 acres of dark sky. He gave about 17 answers, including all the moons of Jupiter. Peter said he would go to Mars. Molly said she would go to Venus because, “it sounds like there’s only girls there.” Avery said she’d go to whatever planet is most covered in ice, so she could see if it “crunches right” in your mouth when you eat it. I would go to Pluto just to prove that it is really a planet.

What are the top three things we can do to take good care of our health?

The number one thing we can do is pay attention to our mental health. It is stigmatized and it separates us. We all have mental differences instead of mental illnesses, and some may require medication and some may not. Second, we need to focus on moving around. I am not talking about having the perfect body or BMI. Staying still and having a sedentary lifestyle, regardless of body type, does have a negative effect on us. Lastly, we must look at our food. The rates of cancer in the world following the Industrial Revolution went up about 300 times. It is challenging because we cannot control what food is out there for us to buy, and while we can now preserve foods and use pesticides to keep bugs off of our food by using chemicals, these have had a significant effect on our bodies. Avoidance of these is impossible, but we can minimize our intake of them.

Why do you give to Simon’s Rock?

I give to Simon’s Rock because we went into debt as a family to pay for Simon’s Rock when I was a student. I am sure there are kids in the same situation I was in attending the College now. I took a campus job my senior year so I could eat and so my mom didn’t have to pay for a meal plan.