Melissa Wolz
Sewickley, PA
Undergraduate Degree:
Biology, Duquesne University

1. What made you want to get your MD degree at WVU? Did your father both being WVU alumni and physician influence your decision at all?

I was attracted to WVU for the location and its commitment to serve rural and underserved areas. I wanted to be in a smaller city while still having close access to a bigger city, and Morgantown’s proximity to Pittsburgh provides this. Having an alumni parent, I grew up coming to WVU to visit and grew fond of the Morgantown area. My dad loved his time at WVU and I knew that WVU would prepare me to be a great future physician. When I began applying to schools, WVU was my first choice.

2. What made the program so appealing?

The medical school has a great, friendly atmosphere. It is not a very competitive environment, which allows for a lot of collaboration between students. This provides a great community within the medical school to learn and work together.

3. What is your favorite part of the program?

I like the balance between small group classes and traditional lectures that are integrated into the curriculum. The small group in Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Clinical Learning Groups (CLG) give a unique approach to learning and reinforcing topics presented in lecture, and it has given me the opportunity to get to know different classmates.

4. What makes the Morgantown campus unique from the others?

I love having Ruby Memorial Hospital right here in Morgantown. As a large hospital that provides advanced care and many specialty services, it will allow me to be exposed to many different cases and patients during my clinical years.

5. What made you want to become a doctor?

I grew up with a strong interest in medicine and science. I never had a single definitive moment when I decided to go into medicine; rather, I knew that I wanted to combine my talents in science with my desire to work with people and to build lasting relationships with patients.

6. How do you balance your home, school, and social life?

I try to find a balance between keeping up with coursework and staying active in my interests outside of medicine. Between classes and studying, I volunteer at local nursing homes playing the sax in a small music group with my fellow classmates. I also keep up with hiking and hunting with my dog and riding my horse when I visit home. This balance keeps me focused on my work and eager to learn.

7. Did being on the equestrian team at Duquesne help prepare you for the work and dedication required in medical school?

Being a part of the equestrian team helped me with my time management. I balanced school work with practicing and competing with the team. In addition to riding with the team, I also had to keep my own horse conditioned for the foxhunting season, which runs from August to January. Riding throughout college allowed me to learn the balance between traveling on weekends for competitions and remaining on top of my coursework.

8. What do you think about the school's community service requirements?

I am really happy to go to a school that emphasizes community service. It has given me the opportunity to become involved in different programs and events in the Morgantown area, and the flexibility in allowing various events to fulfill the requirement has allowed me to explore service opportunities that I have formed with other classmates. As a jazz musician, I play with a few students at local nursing homes to entertain the residents and stay active in the community.

9. What do you think of the school's week long orientation before classes started?

The orientation was a great way to meet other incoming first years. I did not know anyone entering the class of 2019, so this allowed me to get to know classmates before we became busy with classes. During the camp day of orientation, I did backpacking and decoupage. It was also a great way to meet some of our professors and our assistant deans in a laid back environment.

10. What are your goals after graduating?

I hope to eventually practice medicine in a small town where I can build lasting relationships with patients and also work with underserved populations. I have an interest in Internal Medicine, but I am open to any specialty that allows me to get to know my patients well.

11. What is your favorite thing to do outside of school?

I like to spend as much time outside as possible. Cooper’s Rock is a short drive from Morgantown, and it is a beautiful area to have so close to the medical school.

12. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about medical school?

My biggest piece of advice is to stay well rounded and active in your hobbies outside of science. I never want to be just a medical student or a doctor; I want to be a person who relates to her patients well. Interests outside of medicine are what connect us to patients, and this is one of the most important aspects of medicine.

- Interviewed as an M1 student in March 2016