How does your experience with Mayo education compare to previous educational experiences you have received at other institutions?
My experience at Mayo this summer has exceeded all of my expectations. I have been able to increase my knowledge in the field of cardiology through direct instruction from my mentor/P.I. I have had wonderful mentorship and guidance throughout the program while being given the autonomy to work on an independent project under my PI in the field of echocardiography. The Summer Research Fellowship (SURF) program has pushed me to expand my knowledge while also solidifying what I have been taught thus far in my medical school education at Georgetown School of Medicine.
Although I have a number of previous research experiences, none have come close to the enriching environment at Mayo Clinic. which combines advancing the field of medical knowledge, dedication to physician and patient education, and a strong commitment to patient care.
What kind of opportunities have you been introduced to since being at Mayo?
Since being at Mayo I have been able to work on my own independent research project; I have also had the opportunity to interact with medical students, research and subspecialty fellows, and program directors. I have had the opportunity to shadow Mayo physicians in the specialties of my choice, as well as interact with peers from medical schools across the country. I have been able to attend weekly talks and conferences held by different specialties on morbidity and mortality in the Mayo Clinic patient population, and I also had the opportunity to give a short presentation to my peers on my personal research under my P.I.; as well as give a poster presentation on my research.
Why did you choose Mayo Clinic verses other academic institutions?
I chose Mayo because I was excited about what the SURF program had to offer and could identify with its objectives. As a rising second year medical student I have been able to appreciate the need for upcoming physicians to also be scientists dedicated to advancement of the current field of medical knowledge.
I was excited at Mayo's dedication to producing and cultivating physician-scientists who desired to both practice patient care as well as perform research to hopefully better the treatments and breakthroughs for the very patients they treat through advancing the field of knowledge in medicine. Being in the SURF program provided me the opportunity to witness physicians with this mindset first-hand; even more encouraging is the willingness of Mayo Clinic to allow its practicing physicians to split their time in patient care and research. This willingness and dedication is not something I have been privy to at other institutions.
What is your program like? What sorts of projects/workshops have you done?
In the SURF program I have been working on a project that uses echocardiographic speckle-tracking to measure cardiac ventricular deformation in female patients with known coronary artery disease. To begin the project, I was instructed on how to use the interpretation software used to assess echocardiograms, as well as instructed in the uses and acquisition of echocardiographic imaging. I presented a poster, gave a short presentation, and am in the process of writing a manuscript on our study results.
What is your everyday life like in Rochester?
My usual day in Rochester involved arriving at the Gonda building (6th floor) around 8:30 a.m. to continue working on a certain aspect of the study. The first week or two involved training using the software and HIPAA-associated modules for the hospital. Towards the middle of the summer, most of my time was spent building the patient database and evaluating echocardiographic data from our study patient population. The last couple weeks of the summer were spent analyzing our results, building a poster, and beginning to write the study manuscript.
During lunch and after work most days I would get together with other SURF students and explore Rochester. I spent most of my weekends in Minneapolis, which is only an hour and a half away from Rochester.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to pursue a career in cardiology in the future. I am grateful to the SURF program directors and my mentor for giving me the opportunity to meet a number of Mayo Clinic cardiologists and internal medicine physicians. Particularly helpful were the sessions set up by the program which allowed students to speak directly with residency directors about what they look for in applicants; it allowed us to get a better understanding of what we should be focusing on now as we progress through medical school to make us competitive for our desired residency.
If you could describe Mayo in one word, what would it be?
What kinds of activities are you involved in Rochester?
I was not involved in too many activities in Rochester as I spent most of my weekends in Minneapolis, but my friends and roommates were involved in ultimate Frisbee and soccer groups, as well as biking groups and other outdoor activity clubs. I spent a great deal of time in the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center fitness facility in my afternoons after work.
How does Rochester differ from your hometown?
Rochester differs a significantly from my hometown in size. I am from Charlotte, North Carolina and we are a fairly large and growing city. Rochester is much smaller and less densely populated. Some aspects that I felt consistent in both places were the extremely friendly and warm people I found in Rochester and in my hometown. I was almost taken aback by the friendliness I experienced in Rochester. It was certainly one of the things I enjoyed most about my experience.
Any other comments about Rochester, Mayo Clinic, etc.
The Mayo Clinic Summer Research Fellowship was by far the best summer research experience I have had. I hope to have the opportunity to return to Mayo as a resident or fellow in the future.