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School of Medicine discoveries

November 5, 2018

Supper club gives students firsthand look into physicians’ careers and lives

September Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club.

Kelsey Salley, M’03 (third from left), and her husband and classmate David, along with Travis Shaw, M’04, and his wife, Jennie, co-hosted a September Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club.

Longtime friends, neighbors and classmates partnered to host the VCU School of Medicine’s second Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club.

The Class of 2003’s David and Kelsey Salley, who met and married in medical school, hosted the September event in their home along with the Class of 2004’s Travis Shaw and his wife, Jennie, who live down the street.

“Dave and I really enjoyed supper club,” says Kelsey Salley, an endocrinologist who also completed her residency on the MCV Campus. “We remember that in medical school it was hard to picture what life would look like in the future, so we thought it would be good to talk to the students about life after medical school and residency.”

In particular, she says the students were especially curious how she and her husband, an otolaryngologist who also trained at VCU, maintained work-life balance. “While we certainly don’t have all the answers, I hope it was helpful to them to see how we juggle family and careers. To make sure they got a better picture, our three kids were back and forth from upstairs to downstairs to get food and see what all the chatter was about.”

The supper clubs provide small groups of students an opportunity to enjoy a meal and conversation with Richmond-area alumni to share ideas, seek career advice and build relationships. The inaugural event was held in April at the home of John McGurl, M’93.

The Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club invites students to enjoy a meal and conversation with Richmond-area alumni.

The Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club invites students to enjoy a meal and conversation with Richmond-area alumni to share ideas, seek career advice and build relationships.

“My favorite part of the night was sitting down and answering the students’ questions,” says Shaw, a double board-certified specialist in otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery. “Many of them were very interested in the business aspects of medicine and it was really fun to share what I have learned along the way.”

In a post-event survey, the students expressed their gratitude to alumni for giving their time and opening their home to the attendees.

“The event was an enjoyable opportunity to get to know some local physicians in a casual setting,” wrote one student. “It was especially beneficial to get some perspective from those working in a private practice setting.”

Added another student: “It was a much needed break from studying and it gave me some much needed motivation. Most importantly, I really love the advice the hosts gave and it was nice hearing their individual stories into medicine.”

Jodi T. Smith, senior development officer and director of constituent relations in the School of Medicine, has known the Salleys and Travis Shaw since they were medical school students and now as they regularly engage with their alma mater.

“We are so grateful when our alumni go above and beyond as the Salleys and Shaws always do,” Smith says. “Whether it be serving on committees, taking part in a panel discussion, opening their home and serving as chairs for a reunion — they volunteer for almost every request and we cannot thank these dedicated alumni enough.”

Interested in hosting a Supper Club event?
The Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club is a unique opportunity for alumni to engage with their alma mater.Supper Club events can be held in alumni homes or at local venues near the MCV Campus. Medical school staff will assist with all of the arrangements to make hosting easy and convenient.

To be part of the Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club, contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (804) 828-4800 or MedAlum@vcu.edu.

Just stopping in town for a visit? Development and alumni relations also can help alumni schedule tours of the MCV Campus or connect with students.

By Polly Roberts

Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine
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Updated: 04/29/2016