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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Health symposium explores careers in care

On Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 last week, students interested in careers in the healthcare field attended a symposium sponsored by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service and the Office of Development and Alumni Relation where they could network with doctors and other healthcare professionals. 

The Friday event included an evening dessert reception with opportunities to mingle with alumni from 8 to 9 p.m., which approximately 43 students attended. On Saturday, 48 students came as the alums conducted two panel discussions and then moved on to individual meetings in the afternoon.

Nine alumni participants, working in areas from orthopedic surgery to holistic health, allowed the attendees to get a sense of possible careers in the field for after they graduate. With majors in sciences as well as history, sociology, political science and art, the panelists represented a wide range of perspectives on healthcare.

“The oldest alumnus was from [the] class of 1970 [and] the youngest was from the class of 2010, so the students connected [with] these alumni in different ways and were able to benefit from hearing about their experiences and advice,” said Assistant Director of Graduate & Professional School Advising Steven Gump.

Gump emphasized that the panel was meant to focus more on healthcare as a diverse field, which he said advisors in the sciences have often overlooked. To that end, the symposium was partially held to support students who might have an interest in the so-called allied health fields.

“The idea there is to help Grinnell students see that they can do other things in health professions that don’t require an M.D. degree,” Gump said.

Additionally, the panelists held individual meetings with students after the afternoon panel on Saturday. Ankita Sarawagi ’15 attended the event as a student ambassador and helped connect her assigned alumnus, Dr. Ian Lin ’88, with interested students. However, she noted that the morning panel, composed mostly of M.D.s, might have been poor timing for many pre-med students.

“The panel was at nine in the morning, and there weren’t a lot of people that came to the first panel, so not a lot of people got to hear half the alumni talk about what they came here to talk about,” Sarawagi said. “It was actually kind of sad because, in the first panel, there were mostly doctors. Considering how there’s probably a bigger pre-med population [at Grinnell] than other pre-healthcare professional population[s]. It’s just sad that they would miss out on that because maybe it was too early.”

“The doctor that I was assigned to had five individual appointments,” said Sarawagi, who also took a personal interest in the events as a pre-med student.

“I was talking to [Dr. Lin] quite a bit, and he was actually telling me how he went to medical school straight from Grinnell,” Sarawagi said. “The first two years of medical school were the easiest for him. After Grinnell it was just kind of a joke, more or less, and that was encouraging just to know that Grinnell prepares you fairly well.”

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