On their way to medical school, every student now sitting in Watanakunakorn Auditorium had probably heard some version of the following: “Look at the person on your left. Now look at the person on your right.”
But on Tuesday, July 20, Craig Eynon, director of alumni relations, had a different message for the College of Medicine Class of 2025. Instead of the dire undergraduate warning that half of their pre-med classmates would end up in different majors, Eynon offered these cheerful words: You may have just met your future spouse!
He got a big laugh – probably a good thing to break up any of the nervousness and anticipation that can go along with the first days of professional school.
Two alumni – Doug Moses, M.D. (’95), associate dean for admissions and student affairs in the College of Medicine, and Corrie Stofcho (pronounced Stof-Ko), M.D. (’06), assistant dean of student affairs – spoke to the students. They shared ups and downs from their own experiences, including startling poor early results on exams.
Having arrived at NEOMED from a large university, it was reassuring to see how eager the NEOMED faculty were to help their students, Dr. Moses said.
Knowing when to say “I don’t know” can be a moment of integrity, Dr. Stofcho said.
Two third-year students, Jamie Pandey and Gordon Hong, also took a turn to speak to the group. Pandey, who was named NEOMED’s Outstanding Student Leader in April 2021, urged the M1s to get involved in student organizations or as a volunteer, perhaps at the Student-Run Free Clinic at NEOMED.
You deserve these seats. Believe in yourself. You’ll do fine, Pandey reassured them. And residents, faculty and staff are all here to help you, she added.
Hong talked about how he had pivoted when the pandemic made it impossible to plan the usual poster presentation of student research projects. Instead, he joined a committee to present a virtual symposium with breakout rooms where it was possible to chat with the researchers.
He offered a whole list of answers to the question “Why do research?” Other good reasons become clear in “Making a Bigger Impact,” a feature story on Hong in the Spring 2021 issue of Ignite magazine.
A few of them: To learn outside the classroom, contribute to a body of knowledge, make an impact on patients, network, and get to know people (in a more meaningful way) who may recommend you later.
Interested students can check out the Committee for Student Clinical Research, which Hong leads.
Also speaking at the morning session was Eleanor Watanakunakorn, whose family’s donation to the University is honored by the name of the auditorium. Her advice to the students? Be ethical, honest and kind—and treat every patient with compassionate care.