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April 15, 2011

The day more than 30 alumni returned to campus to guide medical students

4_15_2011.jpgMore than 30 medical school alumni from across the country returned to the MCV Campus to participate in this year’s Career Fair. The annual event is a chance for medical students to get answers to their questions about specialty choices and career paths.

This year, 24 specialties were represented by alumni as well as by residency program directors from the medical center. Military recruiters were also on hand. More than 155 students posed thousands of questions about the unique attributes of each discipline and the residency application process.

Held on the first day of Reunion Weekend, this year’s Career Fair allowed participation by alumni from across the country who were willing to come into town a bit early. Other alumni participants were Richmond-area graduates who took a day off from their practice for the chance to represent their specialty, dispel myths and guide current students.

The Class of 1966’s Robert Stacks, traveled from West Newton, Mass. “I’ve had a wonderful career in pediatrics,” said Stacks, who is the senior and managing partner of a 10-person practice in the suburbs of Boston. He practices three days a week and says, “I love talking to students. We’ve always had a teaching program at our practice and we try to give back.”

He was very impressed with the quality of the students who came to talk with him. “Very qualified, very intelligent students,” he said. “Not that I’d expect less.”

“It can be hard to get hold of a physician in the hospital,” said first-year student Esther Cha. She was impressed and grateful that the participating physicians were willing to talk about their professional as well as personal lives.

Her classmate Shideh Chinchian appreciated that “they’re willing to give advice in a general sense, not just about their own specialty, but about the [whole training] process. They had really good advice.”

The Class of 1986’s Daniel Smith woke up early on Friday to make the drive from North Augusta, S.C. because “I love my specialty.” Early in his medical school career, he learned that his exposure to ophthalmology would have to be self-motivated and somewhat self-directed.

“Because ophthalmology’s Match is early and it’s harder to get into, you need to demonstrate your interest to residency programs.” He sought out physicians in the field as well as research opportunities and made sure that his first third-year rotation was in ophthalmology. He recommended to today’s students that they do the same.

First-year student Ankur Patel enjoyed talking to and learning from the residents who were on hand from the VCU Medical Center. “It opened my eyes to what that’s going to be like.”

The Career Fair was hosted by the MCV Alumni Association’s Medical Division Board and the medical school’s Student Affairs Office.

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Updated: 04/29/2016