Hamline News

May 31, 2010

Class of '09 alumnus video-blogs about med school, internship in Mongolia

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We recently caught up with 2009 CLA alumnus Scott White, who is on his way to becoming a doctor. He spoke about what his first year of medical school was like, how he feels Hamline prepared him for the career he's pursuing, and what's ahead for him.

In Scott's words:

Hamline degree? I graduated pre-med; my BS is in biology, and I have minors in chemistry, math, and conflict studies. 

Current status? Just started my second year of medical school at the University of Washington. 

This summer? I had a two month internship in rural Mongolia, right by the Russian border. It’s a fairly undeveloped area, with most of the people there living in large tents called yurts. I worked with a team, assisting local villagers in helping their community to become self-sufficient. I also helped them to build educational programming focused on nutrition that includes food indigenous to that region. I studied abroad in Tanzania for a J-term while at Hamline, which is when I really became intrigued about working with international communities. 

Why Hamline? I wanted to go pre-med, so I was looking for an academically strong school, and I also wanted to be somewhere I would fit in and thrive. When I first walked onto Hamline’s campus, I felt that right away. I also knew Hamline has a really strong science department, and the Twin Cities offers a great medical community with access to volunteering, shadowing, and working with physicians in clinics.

Extracurriculars? I stayed busy. I got involved in Hamline’s new student orientation program, the Hand-in-Hand mentoring program with Hamline’s partner elementary school, the Where’s the Fun weekend planning committee, Student Alumni Board, Tri Beta, Phi Beta Kappa, and Omicron Delta Kappa, and I played clarinet all four years in the Hamline Winds Ensemble.

Rock star professors? Dr. Jodi Goldberg taught one of the best classes- Immunology, which definitely helped prepare me for the rigor of medical school. Professor Deanna Thompson was my FYSEM (First Year Seminar) professor, and she supported me as a mentor and advisor throughout my time at Hamline. Professor Colleen Bell introduced me to conflict studies, and her love of teaching and dedication to her field is inspiring. Dr. Janet Greene in the music department played an important role in my college years reminding me of the world outside the sciences. And, finally Dr. Olaf Runquist was my general chemistry professor, and I know I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him!

What’s ahead? Two more years of medical school. (Laughs). Then, I see myself practicing medicine somewhere in the U.S. But, I also feel that part of my time will be spent working with international communities, perhaps through an organization like Doctors Without Borders. The Mongolia internship was a really good opportunity for me to experience just a bit of what that could be like.

Advice for future students? I’m a true believer that it’s important that you choose the right school for you. Go to a university where you will thrive. For me, there was no doubt that was Hamline. I think it’s a university that provides students with all the resources to become very accomplished and competent graduate school applicants and job seekers, but students need to put in the time and effort, too. It’s students’ determination and willingness to reach out and get involved, push themselves, and make things happen that will enable them to succeed.

Final thoughts? I feel that Hamline really prepared me well academically for both getting into the University of Washington’s medical school, which is considered a highly competitive program, and for getting through my first year successfully.