Intern: Symone Jordan
Education: Biology Major at Bowie State University, class of 2014; currently working as a biomedical researcher at the National Institutes of Health
AAMC Department: Careers in Medicine
It’s not surprising that many of the summer interns are also interested in pursuing careers in medicine. We wanted to know what motivates them to follow this career path, as well as what they have learned while working at the AAMC.
What is the Careers in Medicine program at the AAMC and what are you working on this summer?
While in medical school, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing your medical specialty. The AAMC’s Careers in Medicine (CiM) program is designed to support students in their career-planning by helping medical students assess their interests, values, personality, and skills to help them choose specialties that best fit them. The information on the CiM website allows students to learn about specialty details such as salary and lifestyle, prerequisites and length of training, competitiveness data, and types of patients and procedures. It also compares programs, the student’s qualifications, and pinpoints their preferences for residency training. This summer, I am working on enhancing and updating [BB1] the CiM website, as well as conducting literature reviews.
What led to your interest in a career related to health and medicine?
My interest is based mainly in my desire to help others and my interest in health disparities. A career in medicine is one of the only careers where you can integrate service, teaching, research, and outreach while also feeling like you are constantly making a difference. A profession in health care also guarantees lifelong learning, which keeps me engaged and is one of the biggest reasons I’d like to be a doctor. I will have the chance to serve those who can’t afford health care otherwise and maybe people who have never even seen a physician before. As a doctor, you have the opportunity to directly help improve another person’s life and make an impact on the trajectory of another person’s health. A career in medicine will give me the opportunity to problem solve and work towards determining the root causes of medical ailments.
What is something new or interesting you have learned about the AAMC since you began your internship?
I knew about the AAMC before accepting the internship, but as a pre-med, I often thought of the AAMC just in terms of the products and services they offer, like the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) and the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®). In reality, the association does so much more than that. The people working at the AAMC are truly invested in our success and helping us pursue a career in medicine; they want us to reach our goals.
What is your favorite part of working at the AAMC?
The opportunity to connect with people who have different perspectives because they work in different facets of health care. At the AAMC, I work alongside former deans, administrators, and others—in one setting working together towards a common goal. I also like having the opportunity to learn more about different paths doctors can pursue after graduating from medical school.
What advice would you give to other students who are wondering whether to pursue a career in health care?
I would offer four main pieces of advice: First, talk to other pre-meds to see how they are approaching the process. Next, shadow doctors to gain experience. Talking to current physicians can help you gain a different perspective regarding your future by understanding their daily activities. The third tip is to sharpen your non-clinical skills by becoming a better leader and by joining student organizations. Developing better teamwork and communication skills will help ensure your success as a doctor. Lastly, ensure that you are actually fulfilling all of the requirements before you apply to medical school–each institution different requirements.
Describe your involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and research.
I was chosen to participate in the Undergraduate Scholarship Program through the National Institutes of Health, which has given me the opportunity to do post-baccalaureate research within the National Cancer Institute. While earning my undergraduate degree, I played volleyball for four years and was a White House HBCU All-Star and Ambassador. I also worked as a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Ambassador, am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and was a member of the Minority Association of Pre-Med Students (MAPS). I currently volunteer at Shady Grove Medical Center.
Have you chosen a specialty you would like to pursue? If so, what led you towards making that decision?
I would like to pursue a specialty in plastic and reconstructive surgery. I want to have the ability to connect that to underserved populations because I’ve seen the gaps in medicine and I want to join together with other health professionals in closing those gaps. I would like to have the opportunity to do pro bono work and provide services to people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford my help. I want to work here in the United States, but spend a few months every year volunteering abroad. Working with an organization like Doctors Without Borders is definitely in my future!
What helps you stay motivated on the path to becoming a doctor?
My family and my desire to serve others. There are some health disparities in the community I was raised in, which inspires me to want to help make a change.