Pre-Health Professions Panel with Transcript


Hi everybody out there all you admitted students. My name is Michael Hawkins. I’m an Associate Dean of Admission. I’m coming to you live from my living room in Amherst. I’m merely the moderator, the timekeeper really for this session. We’re very excited to have you all in this pre-health professions panel and to give you a chance to hear from the pre-health professions advisors and some current Amherst students who have been involved with the pre-health program. The way it’s going to happen from this point on is when I’m finished talking, the re-health professions advisers will really take over and so they’re going to do introductions. We got from you all a whole list of questions. Probably most of those will be spoken to in the course of the introduction presentations that the students will make.

But it’s after each of the participants, the panel participants have said a few words, then we’ll have a Q&A session. The first part of it will probably take 25, 30 minutes and then the remainder will be 25 or 30 minutes. And there’s also a kind of live chat feature. So if there are additional questions that come up, you can send those to me. So we’ll have those in the waiting line as well. So, welcome to the pre-health professions panel and I’ll let the advisors take over.

Okay. So why don’t I start? Thank you, everybody, for coming. It’s nice to see you or at least see your names out there. My name is William Loinaz. I’m a professor of physics and I’m also the chair of the health professions committee, the faculty chair of the health professions committee. 

Me and my counterpart Dean Aronson, we’ll make a few brief introductory remarks and then we’ll turn things over to our student panelists. And they’re usually the stars of the show. You’ll enjoy it, I’m sure, hearing their experiences and their insights. But we’re here to answer technical details or to chime in as needed. There are a lot of technical details associated with the health professions and some of those will be answered in the course of our discussions naturally.

Others are available. We have a good resource, Amherst guide for pre-medical students on the Loeb Center website and that’s as much detail and then some as you’d ever want. So I won’t generally spend a lot of time going over those things. In fact, it’s easy to saturate on information about this. So mostly what I want you to remember is that there are people who are here to support and help students that are interested in health professions. I’m one of them. And there’s a committee, the health professions committee that, well, comprised of me and Dean Aronson and three other faculty who rotate through who are here to support and advise and go to bat for current students that are in the health professions and alumni who are thinking about those things, sometimes prospective students who are interested. And we, as I say, we advise, we support, we connect and we okay. Build a community around the health professions here at Amherst. So maybe I’ll just leave it there. I just want you to remember that we’re here, that we exist for that and that we’re here to support that community and to support you. Let me turn it to my colleague, Dean Aronson.

Hi everybody. Welcome. Thank you, all for coming. I hope you can hear me okay. I’m speaking to you from my home and also in Amherst Massachusetts. We’re really proud of our health professions community and we’re very proud of the alumni of Amherst who are serving in health professions. And the whole purpose of our pre-health program is to build in our students a foundation a true foundation that will serve them well and will enrich their careers. A couple of philosophical points just to start with, which I think are important. As Professor Loinaz said, we put a lot of emphasis on building a community here,


A pre-health community of students who connect with each other, support each other, are there for each other. We’re not into people competing against each other. We’re into people supporting each other because that’s really what health professions is all about, it’s truly a team effort. It’s about collaboration. It’s about being respectful and honoring each person just as you honor your patients and the people that you work with in your career and in your life. So we focused on building a community and the three students that we have today are really exemplary of having done that during their time at Amherst as they approached the end of their time here. And they will share that with you. The second major point is that every student has a unique path to the health professions. There is no formula. There’s no such thing as having to check the boxes and having to do things to make your resume look really good.

It’s all about doing what you’re passionate about. Yes, there are required courses. Yes, there are activities that are important to engage in, but there really is no one single path. And that’s what Professor Loinaz and I and Rebecca Tishler, who’s not with us here today, but she’s part of our team. And really all of us at the College are here in terms of helping students understand and explore and figure out what their unique path is to a health professions career. Another key point is that we really view health very holistically. When we talked about health, we talk about physical health and mental health, which are inseparable really. We also talk about social health and environmental health, spiritual health and cultural health and all of the factors that contribute to the health of people and communities in our society. And to equity, equity so that all people have a right to good health care and to the best possible health outcomes available to them. And we also emphasize taking care of your own health as being a foundation for being able to serve other people. So in our advising and in our mentoring, we focus a lot on supporting our students in taking actions to take care of themselves. That’s really, really important. So I think that’s where I’m going to end for my introduction. I just wanted to share with people that I am a graduate of Amherst College. Okay. So, in that sense, I know what it’s like to be at Amherst although It’s changed

A lot and I think it’s changed definitely for the better, but still has a lot of the same qualities that it had when I went here. So I think I bring that too to my work here. I also am a physician myself. I’m a pediatrician and I’m also very, very dedicated to public health and health inequity. So that’s where I’m coming from in terms of my own experience, which I’m always happy to share with students. So we have three wonderful students with us who, as I said, are always the stars of session. And we’re going to start with Emily. So can you start it off for us, Emily?

Hi, I’m Emily and I’m a senior biochemistry major calling in from Champagne, Illinois. When I was in high school, I heard all these stereotypes about hardcore pre-meds, they trying to one-up each other and competing to get the best grades. So when I got to Amherst I was actually a little worried about other pre-med students. But then when I actually started to meet the students at Amherst, I realized it wasn’t like that at all. I think to echo what Dean Aronson said, students here are incredibly collaborative. And again, in a majority of my classes, I formed study groups where we would work together on problems and create group chats to ask questions and never once felt like we were competing with other pre-med students. It always felt like we were working together and supporting each other towards a common goal. And I think this same support is with professors.

There is no such thing as a “weed-out class” at Amherst. Having taken all the pre-med classes and TA’d for some of the intro classes, I see that professors are always searching for ways to better support students and help them better understand the material. Like intro chem and bio have over 12 hours a week of office hours. Basically, whenever you have a question, you’re guaranteed to find someone who can answer it. And professors are really open to getting to know you. I can remember going to intro bio office hours and somehow winding up talking about cooking and professor’s dogs. That just shows you how much professors care about students just beyond academics. And I think it’s the supportive atmosphere that makes me really happy to be part of the pre-med community because it’s just that, a community. And there are six clubs on campus that focus on health, ranging from emergency medicine to public health.

I was the president of the Public Health Collaborative at Amherst where we invite speakers to talk about events talk about public health topics and host events like blanket making or soap making as ways to get involved with the community. And that was a great way to meet so many different people from all areas of campus. I’m also on the emergency medical squad. That’s a student-run organization that responds to emergency calls on campus. It’s students helping students. I think that my experience in the club led directly to an internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. I got to work in the emergency room or volunteer in the emergency room and it was absolutely incredible. I think I was able to get it because of my experience on the squad. Also, I talked to Amherst alumni who went to the program before and gave me tips for applying.

Since it was unpaid, I received funding through Amherst that covered my entire summer in Manhattan. So that just illustrates how many resources there are available for students to do what they want to do. And my other summers I did research in a biochemistry lab at Amherst. The great thing about Amherst is because there are no grad students, all research is done by undergrads. So professors are looking for undergrads to recruit. I joined this lab in my freshman year and now I’m finishing up the senior thesis in the lab now. All that is to say that the community here is extremely supportive and welcoming and there are so many ways to get involved at Amherst that leads to opportunities beyond. Let me know if you have any questions about research at Amherst or getting involved in the community. Thank you, Emily. Now we’re going to head out to the West coast for Caroline.

Hey everyone. I’m Caroline. I’m a senior psychology major. I’m from San Francisco, that’s where I currently am, in my house. Emily said a lot of really good things about the community of the pre-health students here at Amherst and all of the support that’s given to us. I guess I will sort of layout a trajectory of what I’ve done over the past four years in terms of pre-health and also other things besides pre-health. Starting with academics, I took sort of a zigzag path throughout all four years to try and complete my pre-med requirements.

I came in with no calculus math experience in high school, so I had to start taking math my freshman year before starting my other pre-med requirements. So I already started basically a semester behind most people, which is totally okay. Actually I really enjoyed that because it cut the big intro science classes from about a hundred students down to about 20. Just really great. I got to know my professors a lot better that way as well as the students who I was in class with. Then second year I completed four other pre-med requirements, mostly just bio and chem. My junior year I decided to study abroad in the spring semester, so students who are pre-med and who decide to study abroad, sort of have to break up–either complete their pre-med requirements before going abroad or split them up and finish them up senior year.

It’s something I had to pre-plan early on but it worked out because I really knew I wanted to travel, and I wanted to have an experience learning in a different environment. Also, junior year,for a semester, I worked in a microbiology lab with a professor on campus whom I adore and whom I created a great relationship with after taking her micro bio class my sophomore year. Also, before I was admitted to Amherst, I actually shadowed her class while visiting campus, which was awesome. We sort of bonded over that. Working in her lab was a great experience. Super easy to get involved with research on campus with professors.They love having students help them out and really all it did was taking a class or just getting to know the professor, stopping by their office hours and just having a chat and literally just asking them if they need extra help in the lab.

And that’s how I did my research at Amherst. Now I’m finishing up, still finishing up my pre-med requirements and actually taking my last requirement, which is physics at UC Berkeley over the summer after I graduate which is something though a lot of students do. Not everyone finishes their pre-med requirements while at Amherst and it’s totally okay to take classes to finish that up after graduation. Aside from that, my, I’m on the track and field team. I’ve been on the team for four years and Stanley will also talk about that too. All of us are on ASEMS, which was that volunteer EMT club that Emily was talking about, and that experience has been amazing, has taught me so many different things about working in the medical field as well as interacting with many different types of people and really being that person of support when they’re in need.

That also helped me sort of get an internship over the summer. Having a qualification as a EMT helped me travel to Haiti one summer, I think it was sophomore year. I have a deep interest in public health and traveling and health inequities as well, as Dean Aronson mentioned. I actually was able to volunteer in Haiti in a rural clinichelping triage patients and actually treat patients myself which was really exciting. I learned a whole bunch from that. My third summer I actually got help from an Amherst alum. Her name is Emily Hirsch and she works at Mount Sinai in New York City. After reaching out to her, she gave me some pointers on how to sort of get a clinical internship that involves shadowing experience. Through her advice and giving me some of her contacts, I reached out to a bunch of different physicians and actually was able to sort of do research and study under one of the physicians for a summer in New York City at Mount Sinai, which was a great experience.

Besides that I’m involved in Amherst Dance. I was the president of Amhert Dance for two years. I also started Amherst’s first rock climbing team which has been really fun to get involved in and have people get involved in as well. So there’s some of the things that I do outside of pre-health. Then to wrap it up, I think just echoing what Emily and Dean Aronson had been saying about the pre-health community at Amherst, it really is one of support, of positivity, of collaboration. I’ve never felt you know, the need to sort of make nice with professors to try to get that good grade. I’ve never had anyone not sharing notes with me because they wanted to do better on the exam than me. Everyone helps everyone else out and we all have fun doing it together because to be honest, pre-med students I think we have something special in that we’re used to and we have the drive to self-motivate and work through the tough times. I just remember, you know, in those really tough weeks where a lot of work piles up just being with my pre-med friends in the Science Center and working late and collaborating together and that helps you get through it. Anyway, so that’s my little spiel and I guess I’ll move it over to Stanley.

Great. It’s me, Stanley. I’m currently in Atlanta, Georgia, the sunny, sunny South and I am a senior majoring in bio.

So, yeah, I came to Amherst kind of on a whim just because I never really knew about Massachusetts and up North, cause I really only applied to like all the big state schools in Georgia and around the South. So when I went to Amherst for the first time and saw the vibe, the closeness that the students had with each other and the relationships that the professors had with the students also, that was something that kind of made me have more of an inkling that maybe this is the right spot. What I have like planned out to for my spiel is my trajectory also through my four years. If you have questions or anything like that definitely feel free to type or let me know.

I came to Amherst unaware of what I was getting myself into in a liberal arts environment. I had come from a Catholic school, private school and really just didn’t know what I was going to do, like when they [inaudible]. My first year I had a tough time transitioning to the workload and making sure I was organizing my time and having fun also but figuring out how to study equally. My first year, like Caroline and Emily said, I applied and got into ASEMS which is the EMT group. ACEMS really taught me how to become a leader and also what I want in my future career just because helping people is something that I knew I wanted to do for a really long time. But I think actually doing it on campus actually kind of showed me would I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Do I want to do emergency medicine or do I want to work with minority groups. Kind of started the questions of like, okay, this is real. I’m going to start actually doing this in the next four to five years or whenever I get that MD. My first year was trying to transition into this space, just trying to figure out how I work best in this environment. I think one of the main extracurricular highlights of that year was was ACEMS. So we transitioned to second semester, no second year, sophomore year. We’re getting into the groove of things. I’m understanding how Amherst works. I’m not getting lost anymore, which is really cool. I’m getting my clique of friends, which is really good. I also applied to be an RC, which was my first job on campus as well.

And that kind of [inaudible] work with people who I’d never met before. So that first year I had worked in an underclassmen dorm, in James Hall, which hopefully you’ll see in the fall or sometime soon, but in that space or in that role I was able to like work under pressure. And in terms of figuring out how to make sure it’s an equitable, comfortable space where people of all different backgrounds and also it was really fulfilling to actually plan events and programs for first-years and they actually had fun. So it was like, okay, cool. I’m actually tapping into people and they’re like actually giving something back into me. So that was really a dope experience in my second semester or no second year, sorry. Moving into junior year, I feel like I low-key peaked junior year just because like everything was going well, grades are on top.

I was on top of my grades. I had good relationships with my professors. I really had like my best–I was living my best life junior year. As I said, I was on the EMT, ACEMS, I was still an RFC my junior year. I tapped into the Charles Drew health professions program and was a mentor with Dean Aronson and Professor Loinaz and helping underclassmen figure out their classes and what to do and what not to do, which was really, really cool just because I’ve learned a lot through my four years of like what’s right and what’s wrong, which was good. I also joined my first lab experience my junior year, which was definitely eyeopening just because I felt that I never really understood what a research environment was until I came to college.

And in your junior year I felt like I was kind of behind, but with the professors and the support at Amherst, I really just like got into the groove and got working and it didn’t feel like I was really behind and really people, they were there to support me, which was really amazing. Moving on to senior year, which is is suppoes to be my graduation, everything was great and it was great. It is, I mean, under the circumstances I’m glad we’re all safe and at home, but it was like really smooth sailing. I maintained all my extracurriculars, relationships, my grades were good and I think that’s like kind of the abbreviated summary of like my four years. For the summers I did two internships. My junior summer, sorry, my sophomore summer I did an internship at Columbia. They’re a public health program, which was probably one of the most like fulfilling programs and I learned so much from that internship.

The only reason I even knew about it was because of my friends and teh Loeb Center pointing me in the right direction. I can’t thank them enough. My junior summer I did a clinical trials-related internship at Harvard med school. So that was more like a nine to five job, which was really good for me just because the next few years I was going to actually start applying for jobs and things like that. So it kind of like taught me what’s the work ethic and work etiquette and how do you make sure you’re bringing the right attitude to a cubicle space and things like that. It was not only really good experience for medicine and stuff like that, but just growing as a human being. I felt like I was really restored, fulfilled in those ways.

I’m trying to think how I can wrap this up. I want to say Amherst has given me so much and I feel like who I stepped into Amherst my first year, it was someone completely different. I have learned so much, I’ve grown, I’ve been challenged and overcome. And that’s one thing I really like about Amherst is not only, well, they challenge you, but they’ll give you the support and the resources to like actually prevail and be successful. So, yeah, sorry. Like talking your ears off, but that’s my spiel.

Great. Well, thank you all very much. Usually around now we turn to questions from prospective students. Okay. Michael, you got anything for us?

I do. I’ve got a few questions. I think I’ll start with a couple of questions that really speak to how you get started at Amherst and in the the pre-med track. So the first one is, well it’s a more general question about

What was the hardest part of adjusting to Amherst college as a first-year student?

Who wants that one? Who wants to start? I can start. I think the hardest part about adjusting is sort of a good thing hidden in a disguise and the negative thing, and that is when you get to college, and especially Amherst, there are so many new things that are open to you and it’s very overwhelming at first. You can go in a million different directionsand you have no idea sort of where to start. Once you’ve opened up some doors, other doors close. The question becomes which doors should you go to and which ones should you avoid? I think for me, what really helped was getting a game plan together and I sort of kind of mapped out my four years ahead of time starting freshman year.

It started off by meeting with Dean Aronson. I’m getting a layout of, you know, what I needed to accomplish by the end of my time at Amherst, class wise extracurriculars and things that I was wanting to do, that I was interested in. Then once I had a layout of those goals, I made a list of when I wanted to take the classes that I needed to take, which years and that really helped unclutter my mind and sort of maneuver my time around so that I could more easily finish the classes that I needed to take, as well as take other classes that I really wanted to take and participate in a wide array of different activities that are offered on Amherst campus. I didn’t stick perfectly to that plan that I made freshman year

But I did stick to it pretty well and it definitely helped me a lot and I kept going back to it every year and checking to see, okay, which classes do I have to take this semester and you know what doors will that lead me to open and what time will I have on the side too do that specific [inaudible]. I think planning it out ahead of time because there is a lot of things that we as pre-med students need to accomplish really helps lower the anxiety and overcome that anxious feelings. Emily? Anything you want to say you don’t have to. So I come from a really rural school district. My school, my high school, was about 300 students and the academics weren’t heavily weighed. When I got to Amherst, all of a sudden I found myself getting grades that I’d never gotten.

And I didn’t really know how office hours worked? So at first I was just really lost and confused and then I started to talk to my classmates and found that some other students were feeling the same way. I think it was really with them that we first formed a study group like traded insider information, like how you’re supposed to go to office hours and go to TA sessions and where to get help. And also meeting with campus advisors. So my first year, your first year, you get paired with an academic advisor who helps you figure out your classes. When I was lost I would go talk to her and hear her advice and also meeting with Dean Aronson my first year and hearing more about how the pre-health track works. So I guess the people at Amherst, like reaching out to classmates and advisors, really helped me make my transition to Amherst easier. Thank you. Stanley, do you have anything you would like to say? I will basically like echo what Emily said, I 100% relate

Coming from high school I was like doing really well. Like you, I think Amherst recruits like the best of the best, the cream of the crop and then you stepped into your first class and you’re getting grades not what you’re accustomed to. So I think I definitely relate to that where the rigor and the workload at Amherst is definitely like it’s, it’s there, it’s not gonna be something where I feel like, okay,

[Inaudible] through. So Amherst does a really good job supporting students. Not only that, it’s a small liberal arts college so that like you have really good relationships. You can have really good relationships with your professor. But as Emily said as well, we’re all in this together. So I probably formed three study groups my freshman year for three different classes and we all studied together every other week or every day or however often we need to. So the support and the community and the resources at Amherst are definitely there to help you out.

Thank you. Got another one, Michael?

This may be a quick short answer from each of the, student panelists. It’s a two part. Did you enter Amherst thinking you’d be pre-med and what was the biggest moment where you doubted you would actually complete the pre-med track?

Okay, let’s see. So maybe, maybe I’ll start that with our senior panelist. Dean Aronson?

I meanI didn’t come into Amherst, when I was a student here. I didn’t come in knowing for sure that I’d be pre-health or pre-med. By the way, a couple of points I want to echo and emphasize. One, we do not have a pre-med major at Amherst. We have a pre-health or pre-med track. There’s no such thing as a major. And the second important point is that people major in everything. People major in anything. We have probably close to half of the students who go on to medical school in particular are non-STEM majors. We encourage people to do what they love to do or that they will love to learn about. It’s really, really important. I majored in religion myself. And I didn’t really, I did a lot of exploration in my first year or two. And we encourage that in the students that we work with. And as all three of the students said,meeting with us early on in the first year is really, really important.

Those early meetings are really trying to

To really get our students to think deeply about what they’re passionate about, what they care about. Who they are as human beings, who they’re becoming,

And how they want to make an impact in the world and in their personal lives. So yes, it’s important to realize that many students

Do not come to Amherst definitely

Pre-Med or pre-health. And by the way, we see students going into all the health professions. Although


Is a lot, it’s a lot and certainly a significant amount of them. We see students going into public health and mental health and PA

And nursing and

All kinds of really interesting stuff. So anyway,


With that, let’s turn it over to,

How about you Stanley?

Okay. So I think for me, I definitely came into Amherst knowing that some sort of health-related occupation was my goal just because I come from a family, like my grandma who is my largest inspiration is a physician and my mom does a lot of like non-profit work. So I kind of just loved the energy that they were giving other people and I was just like, I want to tap into that. So I came into Amherst definitely like, okay, I’m going to finish my pre-med requirements earlier.

I think the moment that I doubted myself was, and again this relates to my first answer is this, the grades just because felt at times like I wasn’t necessarily even either good enough or smart enough to complete the requirements and it’s like there was some moments where I really doubted myself. I was like, I need to be the smartest doctor out there. And I think you’re talking to your friends and talking to faculty and that’s just not true. You don’t have to be the smartest person 4.0. And I feel like they’re how many doctors out there that have different like ticks to them? Like I will be able to like [inaudible] [inaudible] okay. Yeah. Okay. Okay. [inaudible]. HI’ll be a different position than my counterparts. So we all have something different to offer. Well, to answer the question, Caroline or Emily, do you want to add to that?

Sure. I also came in knowing that I wanted to be pre-med and work in the medical field after graduation. Not much else to say to that. I’ve always wanted to be a physician of some sort. I think one tough point, at Amherst where I doubted myself was fall of junior year, I really, really wanted to go abroad and not many people who are pre-med do go abroad because it is a semester and during that semester you can’t really take pre-med requirements while away. So, you know, I was sort of juggling in between, man, I really want to have this experience, but I probably won’t finish my pre-med requirements if I do have this experience. And sort of weighing those two options together. But that’s how I sort of settled on taking classes after Amherst has finished to finish up my pre-med requirements.

And I used to think that, you know, doing sort of a mini post-bac was, you know, for people who didn’t have what it took to complet it all at Amherst or they just decided really late. I had all these biases for no real reason. But that’s all false. Like it’s totally okay to take your own pace when completing. The pre-med track. And so I spread out my classes over all four years, still won’t have completed them by May. And that’s okay. I still had an amazing experience studying abroad in New Zealand, so I am very glad I chose to do that over finishing all of my classes fin our years, but just wanted to jump in. Caroline, I just say that we strongly encourage in pre-health and pre-med study abroad and we find that as long as students plan it out,as she said earlier, that it’s definitely doable and in fact, we’re currently working with our applicant group for the current cycle for medical school application and it’s quite remarkable. There’s significant number of our applicants this year who’ve done study abroad and it greatly enriched them. Definitely. I definitely consider it a pre-health experience in many, many ways. So, definitely. For those of you in the audience who want to do study abroad, there’s surely a way to work that out. It’s a matter of just meeting with us, you know, early on and sitting down and working out a schedule to make it happen.

Emily, did you have anything more you wanted to add there? So for me, I had an inkling that I wanted to do medicine because growing up my brother had a condition. So

That led led me to have an interest. But at first I was really put off by pre-meds because of that stereotype I heard about. And because of some of my first-year courses, like I really questioned like, can I do this? And so I spent a lot of time exploring different fields like philosophy and anthropology and I just kept coming, kept coming back to the bio and chem courses because there was something that I really, really enjoyed. And so I think,

Enjoying those classes and also finding a good, a strong cohort of students in the pre-health track really led me to choose and decided to be pre-med.

Yes. So maybe I’ll toss in a little bit just since we’ve talked about pre-med requirements just a little bit of basic background information. Amherst College doesn’t impose any requirements on anybody who’s interested in medical school. We do though talk about the requirements that medical schools have and they vary somewhat school to school, but we can kind of distill it down to a core set of courses that if you satisfy these courses, you’ll be prepared for essentially all medical schools. And so those courses boiled down to two semesters of introductory physics, two semesters, introductory chem, two semesters of introductory bio, two semesters of organic chemistry, a semester of biochemistry. Enough math to take those courses. For Amherst that means a semester of calculus. And we encourage students to have a statistic course, there are more and more schools that speak with interest of statistics. And then there’s a non-science. Most schools have some non-science requirement. And usually what we say is if you take a couple, of course, two courses in English or literature and translation, will satisfy the non-science requirement for essentially all of the medical schools in the country.

For dental schools and for veterinary schools, the requirements are a little bit different. For other professional schools, PA Nursing, physical therapy, they’re also somewhat different. The medical schools have pretty uniform. Core of courses. What else you got, Michael? Keeping with that there were several with that theme there. Well, there were several who asked about the integration, the requirements that med schools havewith othe subjects. The rigor, the

Challenge of doing both your major, pre-med track and even some asked about the possible doing a double major. How do you balance all of it? I think I can speak to that. So I am a psychology major and currently there’s no overlap between psychology and the pre-med track. So it’s essentially like doing two majors. And that is because the pre-med track is a lot of courses. And it does kind of sound like a lot. However I easily managed my courseload and taking both of them as well as taking other classes, not relating to psychology and pre-med. I love art history. I’ve taken art history classes English. HistorySociology. Public health. I think it’s all a matter of time management and you know, just prioritizing your study’s over other things when it comes to really critical time periods.

Those time periods are those crunch periods where you have a lot of things sort of on your plate at once. You know, sometimes it’s hard because non pre-med students have a lot less coursework or course time than we do. So sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when you’re looking at friends who are only in class half the amount of hours that you are, but then again, that brings you back to the pre-med community. There are so many of us all, you know, going through the exact same thing. So leaning on each other’s what really got me through those tough times. But honestly if you time manage, it’s not a problem. And I was able to play a varsity sport four years while being in, you know, three, four other clubs that I participated in multiple times a week. So iit’s definitely doable. Can I ask another question? I just wanted to add, Oh, sorry.

Add something about the open curriculum at Amherst college. Because there are no distribution requirements besides your major courses or any like pre-med requirements, the rest of the courses are free to do whatever you want with. I would have taken five philosophy courses in my time at Amherst and like some anthropology, religion, theater.

It gives you so much room to explore.

Stanley, do you have anything? I would just like, I’d go again with Caroline said with time management, like I think anything is possible in terms of like juggling a second major or like a ton of extracurriculars, as long as you know how you work and how to prioritize. Like if a midterms coming up, I need to dedicate more time to that and less time to socializing. You have support, your resources is your maximum [inaudible] yeah. [inaudible] All T to like figure out like what do I need to do and be like [inaudible].

Okay. All right. There are several folks ask questions I guess they are essentially about–most of the panelists spoke to this at least briefly, but I wonder if there’s anything to add about opportunities for practical experience, internships, Clinical experience,any, is there anything more that can be said about that and before turning that over to our panelists? I just want to say that one of the great advantages of being an Amherst college is we have a really very devoted and very wonderful alumni community. And one of the things that we do and in our health professions program is,onnect students with alumni,uin any way possible. And students very often feel that their relationships with there with alumni that they connect with not only help them better understand what, what lies in their future and extremely valuable to talk with them about their path,uthat the alumni have taken, but actually provide a, you know, very exciting opportunities including clinical experiences that are so important for [inaudible], for people to understand.

What they’re getting into and to really know what the practice of healthcare and medicine is really all about, what it entails. And so that they can be sure that this is something that they really, really want to do. So that is a key, key thing. And then as I think Stanley all three mentioned the, the, there there is a rich, rich, very rich variety of summer experiences that,ustudents take it, you know, tap into everything from, to the Columbia experience that Stanley mentioned, To the, ho the Mount Sinai summer that Caroline mentioned. And, hhe college is quite generous and supporting those efforts and those experiences. On the other hand, we really want to emphasize that, yeah. People shouldn’t feel that they have to do, you know, have to do a summer internship every summer. You know, some people, for example, after their first year at Amherst, they just want to be home and that’s, it’s fine.

And there are ways you can volunteer And have a job say. And we do have a local hospital. That was one of the questions. There is a local hospital called Cooley Dickinson hospital in Northampton. And we have students volunteering there during the school year. And we really emphasize service a lot. And, and, and doing things that,uhelp other people enrich, not enrich the Amherst community. Uyou know, all of those are pre-health being, being in dance, being on the track team, being in the public health collaborative, as Emily mentioned, all of those are, or a really pre-health because they set the foundation for, for the kind of, you know, humane,ucompetent, compassionate, a holistic,uhealthcare providers,ucommitted to equity that we, we so much need in this country, in the world.

Does anybody have something they want to say about their clinical experiences or two clinical experiences to be that you haven’t said already? You’ve all done [inaudible] and you’d like to say more about that.


Huh. But Caroline, you’re, you’re doing something after Amherst, right?

Yeah, so I’m taking two years off before going to med school and I am starting a in late August doing research and also helping out with patients in orthopedic surgeons, private practice. I’m interested in going into orthopedics for my future career. So that’s, hopefully it will be a good stepping stone. So I’ll be doing that for two years. And currently right now I’m volunteering with the Red Cross with transporting blood products from blood donations to the all the hospitals in San Francisco where I’m from, as well as volunteering at the blood donation drives themselves and sort of screening people taking their vitals and making sure that they’re all fit to donate. And not, you know, sick with COVID-9. Those are the things that I’m doing now clinically, but also like I mentioned before, Emily mentioned before, what Dean Aronson has mentioned, is the alumni network at Amherst. I think personally is one of the best in the country. Alumni love, love, love to help students both through connecting them with jobs. Financially. Emily mentioned that her whole summer in Manhattan was funded, not as through alumni. And my summer at Mount Sinai also was fully funded by alumni as well. Alumni even like to help out with classes. I actually am in touch with okay. Someone, an alumni who’s in the medical field and she’s helping me sort of research

Stuff for my private and last paper for my history of psychiatry class this semester. So she’s helping me out with that because that’s her field of expertise. So alumni will help out with future jobs, internships, current coursework anything of that nature.

Thank you. Michael. We have, yeah, time for

A little bit more. Yeah, we’ve officially got three minutes left, but maybe we’ll go a couple more minutes after that. Here’s a question that was asked, there were a couple of questions asked and I guess I would describe them as how would you describe persistence in the pre-med track andexcept acccept rates to medical school. So how many people start and persist and how many people end up in the medical profession? Yeah. Or medical school and medical profession?

A technical question. Let’s see. Do you have anything you’d like to say about, about this?

Why don’t you go ahead?

Well, okay. Yeah. The persistent,

It’s a little bit hard for

Us to say

By some counts, something like a quarter or a third of the entering class comes in, maybe interested in medical school,

But sometimes those interests are, are not entirely, they’re not well-formed or there it’s an idea people are playing with. And so because we don’t have a pre-med major because nobody declares pre-med, but maybe they come and speak to us and express their interest. Or maybe they don’t. Uwe’re not, not entirely sure. Ucertainly some students who come in,uare thinking about medicine, but they’re thinking about a lot of different things. As an advisor I say if we’re doing things right at the college, in the course of your time here, in the course of conversations,uwith faculty in the course of the, okay. Of course as you’re taking, you come up with ideas for what you want to do that maybe had never occurred to you before, that you are excited about things you didn’t know existed and were possible and it’s entirely fine and wonderful to

Pursue those directions and to save the world in all kinds of different ways. Medicine just being one of them. So some people start thinking about medicine and then they find something else that lights them on fire and then they’re often running in that direction. And that’s great. I consider that a, as an advisor, I consider that a real victory for people to find things that they passionately want to do. Yeah. We probably have somewhere between each year applying to medical school, you know, 50 to 70 or so. Applicants coming out of Amherst is a, it’s a steady state. So, you know, if, I guess if, if the entering class is about, what does it Michael, about, h50 or so a year coming in or 75 or 54 75 and I dunno, ballpark a quarter a third something like a hundred people are interested probably, you know, 50 to 70 apply every year.

So that’s a pretty significant number that go on through. And then of those that applying in any given year, you know,60 to 80% are probably admitted. Actually it’s usually more like 70 to 85%. First-Time applicants are admitted applicants who some applicants don’t get in the first time they apply and if they, hake seriously the feedback that they get from medical schools and they a persistent reapply, hhey very often get in. So the, you know, acceptance rate after that is in the nineties percent, I imagine. Okay. We don’t actually track those statistics all that carefully. These are sort of ballpark numbers because we’re a small enough place that we’re not driven by the statistics. We know everybody individually. Yeah. We know the strengths and uhhf each applicant, the places they’ve got to work. Umnd we know

How each applicant, we know how each student applicant [inaudible] You know, how to tell their stories and [inaudible] uit’s not the same story for every person. It’s not a, it’s not a statistical story. It’s, we’re trying to retry to tell medical schools we’re trying to, it helped really help the applicants until medical schools. What kind of a doctor am I going to be? What kind of a great doctor am I going to be in? There are lots of different kinds. I say we’re, we’re small enough that we can figure that out. And so,


[Inaudible] The statistics is rarely a driving forced for us so much as [inaudible] the, the nuances of the individual applicant. Right. What are you thinking Harrison? You got anything you want to add to that or

No, I think you said it really well. Thank you. It occurs to me that there are some, there are other panels that are about to start at this hour. So there are people, some people are dropping off and it looks like it’s been pretty persistent.


I think most of the questions That the folks sent in have been answered in one way or the other and


The, they, they, well, several people ask questions about, you know, just the balance of various things. And I know that a couple of you, Caroline and Caroline and Stanley, someone asked, what is it like to be a, to balance all of the [inaudible], your academic expectations and pre-med pre-health requirements with being an athlete or any other activity for that matter.



You got it. Carry on. Yeah, I mean, as I was saying, actually, so Stanley and I are both on the track and field team. Uit’s the largest team on campus. However, we also have a huge, huge, huge amount of the med students on the team. Uand actually a lot of students who are on AASEMS as well, which is kind of fun. Uathletics at Amherst,uas hopefully you all know of those of you who are interested in it,uis D three and what that means is that , academics always come first. So coaches are really invested in your academic performance,uas well as athletic performance and they prioritize your classes over practice. Uand so,ueven though we do have doctors,uevery day, including on the weekends with needs and such,uI still found time to complete my coursework and homework and I think that it’s sort of like changed for me.

You know, when I do my work during the day in high school, I always did any evening after coming home from school and practice. But once I got to Amherst, you have a lot less frequency of classes than you’re used to in high school. And so there’s a lot of more time trumps during the day that you can use to get your work done before practice and other extracurriculars. And so I really utilize those times and that really helps in getting all your stuff done. As well as, you know, having free time outside of all the things that we all do. So coaches are really supportive. You know, talking with them in conjunction with your professors to try and work out at management you know, sort of protocol for your work and practice schedule is something that everyone should do. But I found it to be really manageable.

Well, I I think we’ve gone over our set time. I wanna thank the panelists all for they’re active engagement in telling the Amherst story and the there these folks that the Amherst students are busy finishing their classes. Remotely a and M Dean Aronson is working very hard on career advising and pre-health advising taking up a lot of time. And of course professor loin is, is it’s still teaching. So, , I hope you, you gotten a good information here. If there are folks who want to have additional questions, if you’ll just feed those back through me, you can find my [inaudible]. My email address is my first initial M for Michael. My middle initial T for Tyrone is my middle name. See if you’re gonna remember that. And and my last name, Hawkins, haw K I N S Let us know if you have other questions and good luck in the, the over the next couple of weeks in the process of making your final choices. Amherst is a great place. So good night. Thank you sir to the panelists

And congratulations to all the three of you on your, your imminent graduation. I don’t know if we’ll have a, a chance to sort of say that the faculty will have a chance to say that to you guys. So I dunno. I’ll take my chance when I can’t take my opportunity now. Congratulations on your,

Your time here.

Me too. Really proud of all three of you. Thank you so much. So we’re going to stay on line, but the, the the visitors, the admitted students, you guys can, can can sign off now.

By The Loeb Center
The Loeb Center