1. What made you want to get your MD degree at WVU?
There were several aspects that stood out to me when I interviewed at WVU. First off, I noticed that West Virginia reminds me a little of Utah. In particular, Morgantown felt very similar to my hometown in Utah. I’m used to being around the mountains and enjoy being close to nature. West Virginia has a wide range of outdoor activities and so that was very appealing to me. Second, I also noticed that there was a very strong family atmosphere here. From the faculty to current students, everyone was so kind to me and seemed to genuinely care about who I was. The combination of the two made WVU feel like home and so it was an easy decision to make to come here for my MD degree.
2. As an out of state student how did you hear about WVU?
I heard that WVU had a higher rate of out of state student acceptance. That is why I initially started looking.
3. So far, what is your favorite part of the MD program?
I enjoy that we are starting to learn more about the medicine side of things. In my undergraduate studies, I learned a lot about the basic sciences but not as much about the medical or real world applications. It has been very satisfying to start to fill in those gaps. I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to get in and shadow various physicians in the hospital. I have had a few opportunities to observe procedures up close in the operating room and it has me very excited for the day that I will finally be able to practice medicine as opposed to just reading about it.
4. What made you want to become a doctor?
My decision to become a doctor was a long and gradual process. I started out in business school and at the end of my first year realized that I really didn’t enjoy it. I needed some time to think about my future and so I took 2 years off and served a religious mission to Peru with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While I was in Peru, I realized that I enjoyed working with people. So when I picked up my schooling again, I began looking into careers that were more people oriented. About that same time, I also took a human anatomy class and fell in love with learning about the human body. This led me to think about applying to medical school. After that, I began to volunteer at the hospital and shadowed a few physicians. I really enjoyed these experiences and I realized that medicine was a career path that satisfied both my interest in the life sciences as well as my desire to work with people. I knew it would be a difficult career path, but it’s also been very rewarding and I’m very happy with my choice to pursue a degree in medicine.
5. How do you think your 3rd and 4th clinical years will be unique since you are part of the Eastern Campus?
I chose the Eastern Campus because it is a smaller campus and has a better student to attending ratio. This will allow me to have the opportunity to get more hands on experiences with the faculty.
6. As someone who has done mission trips before medical school, what do you think about the community service requirement?
Personally, I think the community service requirement is one of the most important requirements that we have. This is for two reasons. First, as future physicians we will likely be leaders in our communities. It is important to begin to develop the habit of lifelong service now so that it is always a part of who we are. Hopefully, this will enable us to continually inspire those around us to also give back in whatever way they can. Second, I think a lot of times as medical students we are somewhat isolated from the rest of society. While the focus on academics is important, the service requirement helps to keep me grounded. It helps me to maintain both an awareness of the needs of the community as well as a sense of empathy. Ultimately, I hope that this is the characteristic that defines who I am as a physician.
7. Did the programs orientation week help you get to know your classmates, faculty/staff, and get you acquainted with Morgantown before classes officially started?
Definitely. It was good because I felt like I kind of just dropped in to Morgantown. I do not have any family ties to this area and so the orientation week was vital in helping me establish a support network. I met many wonderful individuals - both classmates and faculty - and began to develop friendships that I have relied on to help me get through the first year of medical school.
8. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about medical school?
Work hard and take a chance. Make sure that this is really what you want to do by shadowing and volunteering in healthcare related programs. Also make sure that it fits with what you want your future lifestyle to be. Medicine is a very demanding career path, but it is also very rewarding.
9. What activities help keep you a well-balanced medical student?
I just try to keep up with my hobbies. They keep me sane in between all the studying. In particular, I enjoy working out and going on runs frequently. I also like to play the piano and other instruments. Music has always been an important part of my life and it helps me to relax and recharge.
10. So far, which wellness event has been your favorite?
I really enjoyed the trip to New Orleans over spring break this year. I met a few people in my class that I had not had much interaction with before this trip. It was also a good way to get some community service hours in while taking a much needed break from studying.
11. What plans do you have for the summer between first and second year?
I will be doing a surgery/trauma externship at WVU Medicine. Right now I am feeling good about surgery. I wanted to take this opportunity to make sure it is the right fit for me. I also plan on returning home to Utah in order to visit family and friends as well as to spend some time hiking and camping. Essentially, I’m planning on taking some time to enjoy life and relax before hitting the books again.
12. What are your goals after graduating?
I anticipate starting a residency in surgery and hope to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. I’m also hoping to do residency somewhere near Washington D.C. so that I can get involved in the politics of healthcare. I want to be a part of the conversation and help influence the way that healthcare is developing since it is such a dynamic area right now. It is important to me to make sure that we have an efficient system that is both sustainable and accessible to everyone.
Interviewed spring of 2017 (during the MS 1 curriculum)