by Elise Goitia '18
A group of pre-med Knox students learned firsthand from Knox alumni what it means to be a medical professional.
In a cooperative effort between Alumni Relations, the Bastian Family Career Center, the Pre-Health Program and the Center for Teaching and Learning, 11 students spent their spring break on a medical immersion trip. They traveled to locations around the Chicago area to shadow alumni involved in a variety of different careers in medicine, from pediatrics to surgery.
"These alumni were once in the same shoes as the students who shadowed with them," said Eric Johnson, associate director of alumni engagement. "They can relate to each other really well. Plus, having the Knox connection is almost like a secret handshake of trust. The alumni have a sincere interest in seeing these students succeed."
The experience, students said, was rewarding.
"Unlike previous shadowing experiences I've had, shadowing Knox alumni professionals was much more personal," said Madeline Lag '17. "Knowing they had similar educational values made them feel like mentors. Also, seeing graduates of Knox in such esteemed positions made reaching career goals seem more tangible."
Lag worked with Dr. Eric Williams '85, a chiropractor, and was inspired by his approach to his work. She said he showed her the power of positivity and the transformative role it plays in one's own life as well as others'.
"I intend to incorporate such qualities in my own practice as a potential psychologist, and I am now strongly considering opening my own practice in the future," she said.
In addition job shadowing opportunities, students also participated in an alumni networking program at the Union League of Chicago, visited an examination room in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University, and heard a presentation on healthcare financing by a Northwestern University physician.
"I thought it was really cool that all of these alumni wanted to help the next generation of Knox doctors," said Jeri Rosenbloom '18. "I made a lot of really great connections that I can continue to foster and develop."
Kelsea Flanagan M.D. '02 appreciated the educational opportunities she was afforded at Knox and wanted to give back in any small way she could. "Knox prepared me so well for medical school and beyond, and I'm thrilled to pay that forward. There's a tradition in medicine, and at Knox, of helping those who want to travel down a similar path."
Williams said that his motivation to be a part of the program stems from his own Knox alumni mentors who have "paved the way and always been my support system."
"I felt this was a great way to give back to the Knox community, as well as be a positive influence on the future minds of our healthcare field," he said. "Interacting with current Knox students solidified my belief that the education I received during my undergraduate years prepared me well for my following years of education."
Williams was hopeful that the students would gain a true understanding of what their lives can look like in the years following graduation.
"Current students and alumni of Knox College truly are family," he added. "Whether it's the friends you attended Knox with or older alumni, you can always find a mentor and somebody else willing to help you out."
Students who participated included Rosenbloom, Lag, Julian Tan '17, Moriah Chermak '17, Greta Berger '18, Maggie Brick '18, Joel Vargeese '19, Clarice Bernett '17, Doja Aofolajuwonlo '17, Stephanie Ten Cate '18, and Ian Chen '19.
Alumni participants were Williams, Flanagan, David Altman ‘67, Susan Arjmand '83, Suchita Kishore '93, Scott Mendelson '00, Harry Whitmore '01, Dr. Susan Clare (spouse of Walter Larkin '55), Dr. Tom Spyratos '06, and Dr. Delilah Burrowes '20.