21
May
08

Storytime! “How the Engineer Got Into Medical School.”

In a previous post I mentioned this as a story for a later date. Well, grab a juice box and join the circle on the carpet, kids… it’s time for the tale of an engineer who decided to not pursue a career in engineering.

First of all, let me state that I am not the only one. In fact, if you’re a regular reader, you might have noticed Kaylan’s mention of the dual-admissions program here at UC. I was a little different in that I didn’t seriously consider medical school until the end of my third year here. I was bound and determined to go to graduate school for materials engineering or materials science or polymer engineering. That was the plan…

Then I co-oped at Pfizer Global Research and Development, working in a product enhancement lab. It was cool, but the little glimpse that it gave me of working to improve the lives of real, live patients left me unsatisfied. Wondering if I might enjoy working more closely with those real, live people, I started thinking about becoming a doctor. After a lot of thought (and some volunteering at one of the many hospitals around here) I made up my mind: I was going to apply to medical school.

The only trouble was… I still liked the idea of research. In fact, masochist that I am, I liked the idea of being a graduate student. During my explorations of medical school websites, I came across these entities called MSTPs: Medical Scientist Training Programs. If admitted to one of these programs, a student attends both medical school and graduate school, and comes out in 7 or 8 years (hopefully younger than the photo at left) with an M.D. and a Ph.D. in a biomedically relevant field. This sounded like just my cup of tea, so I decided to apply to some of these dual-degree programs.

Okay, now fast forward a year. We’re skipping a year because that’s how long the application process took from start to finish. It wasn’t pleasant; it was super-competitive; and no, I had no idea what I was getting into. I’m glad it’s over.

As it turned out, I’m going to Case Western Reserve University (which was my first choice) and I begin med school in a little less than two months. I have not yet decided if I’m going to pursue my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering or in another discipline, but I’m interested in tissue engineering and biomaterials in general. In the meantime, I am really excited about needing to purchase a stethoscope.

The End.

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