lthough summer is still far away, due dates for summer program applications are just around the corner. During their meeting on November 13, Future Practicing Physicians Network introduced various internships and programs concerning medicine and research for students to look into. According to senior and President Tiffany Wang, many science clubs hold this meeting because it seems to be one of the topics that most club members are interested in. She explained that since the officers are senior to many of the members, who tend to be mostly freshmen and sophomores, they are able to offer information from their own experiences to help members discover more about their interests.
“I feel like a lot of people, they don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of research,” Wang said. “So it’s up to the officers to help guide our members to find opportunities.”
Sophomore and Public Relations officer Ashley Yeh has firsthand experience in furthering her interests through these summer programs. Over the summer, Yeh attended a camp called Stanford Explorers, where she took the neuroscience series offered there. Through the program, she was able to talk to many speakers and Stanford graduate students in medicine, as they often came to eat lunch with the attendees of the camp.
“It was really cool because you could ask them all these different questions [about medicine] and they’d answer back honestly,” Yeh said.
By befriending graduate students and interacting with speakers, Yeh became less intimidated of talking to adults in the medical profession. It was the passion of these speakers that made Yeh even more interested in pursuing neuroscience.
While the program that Yeh attended revolved more around lectures and notes, senior and director of medical outreach Jason Shen’s experience was more hands on and interactive. He had attended the Clinical Summer Internship at Stanford medicine last summer, which allowed him to practice many skills such as suturing, dissecting and exploring cadavers. Shen stated that although the skills that they practiced were limited, this just made him more excited to learn more in the future as he pursues a career in medicine.
“[My main takeaway from the camp was] that I love medicine,” Shen said. “It sounds kind of dumb, but all the knowledge that I gained from there was […] really preparing me for the career in medicine that I want to eventually get.”
Although Shen and Yeh were reaffirmed in their existing interests by their camp experiences, Wang serves to be an example of how these summer camps can change a student’s perspective.
Wang had been attending science camps and programs like Camp Galileo ever since she was in elementary school. It wasn’t until high school, however, that she began taking a part in more research-based internships. She began enrolling in programs at Stanford, which went into detail about medicine and showcased various medical procedures. Although she began to get more involved in medicine, this was not her original intention.
“The funny things is, when I joined [FPPN] I wanted to be a dentist first […] not a doctor,” Wang said. “But then now I’m kind of moving towards nursing.”
Yet after attending these camps, not only did she develop a great interest in being a doctor and medicine, but she also began to realize how many branches medicine has. Although a profession in medicine is often associated with a surgeon, there are many more branches of medicine that can fit people’s varied interests, such as oncology and dermatology.
Upon realizing that there were so many more options in the medical field, Wang came to the realization that being a doctor may not align with her interests.
“People who are able to stay seated and study long hours, I think that’s good for surgeons in particular,” Wang said. “But for people who [like] to move around a lot, maybe a profession more on the physical side […] will be better.”
Recently, Wang has been leaning towards pursuing a career in nurse practitioning, as she would like to have a more flexible job that does not require as much studying compared to doctors. She stated that she would still have many of the same opportunities as a physician with only a few limitations. Through her experiences, Wang has been able to discover what she would truly like to pursue in the future.
“What I learned is that there are a lot of professions in medicine that you can look into,” Wang said. “Don’t just look into surgery because it sounds cool or makes the most money.”