HomeFaculty NewsInformal alumni & current student discussions are rewarding for everyone involved

Informal alumni & current student discussions are rewarding for everyone involved

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Both students and faculty say they’re delighted that informal meetings between alumni and students have resumed. The UW School of Medicine Alumni Association‘s Student-Alumni Informational Discussions (SAID) bring together alumni residents/fellows and medical students.

Just one example of a student who benefitted: Grant Jacobsen, a third-year medical student from Idaho. His online session with resident Drew Anderson, M.D., UWSOM Class of 2021, featured students from throughout WWAMI. The group talked interventional radiology and more.

“It was helpful to be able to ask him specific questions about certain topics that aren’t directly taught to us or that we could look up online,” Jacobsen said. “He was incredibly kind and demonstrated that he was willing to take the extra mile to provide input.”

Dr. Anderson says he enjoyed the session: “It’s nice to feel like I can give back early in my career, even while I am still in training.”

Through SAID, alumni host two to six students in person for a meal or over Zoom for lively conversations about professional practice, residency, work-life balance and whatever else is on students’ minds. Discussions are offered from October to December.

This year marked the initial involvement of current UW Medicine residents and Fellows in the SAID program. Each SAID session featuring a resident or fellow was filled to capacity. Most talks had a waitlist of medical students who would have liked to meet with specific alumni.

Medical students find residents and fellows relevant because many students are close to the graduation experience. Alumni can also offer thoughts about interviewing for, and starting as, a resident. The Alumni Association thanks the office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) for helping share the opportunity of SAID with our UW School of Medicine alumni in residency and fellowship!

 If you’d be interested in hosting a small group in 2024, you can let the Alumni Association know now.

Why would you want to do that? Dr. Anderson offers reasons that appealed to him:

  • “The opportunity to mentor student helps gives me a chance to share why I love my specialty. It provides reflective context of my own professional journey and also reminds me to find mentors of my own at every stage of my career.”
  • “Interventional radiology is not a specialty many medical students are exposed to, so offering mentorship and information about the career helps to ensure we continue to recruit excellent medical students who will become my future colleagues.”
  • “As a resident, I feel like I can provide an unintimidating and honest perspective of the residency application process. I think students feel comfortable asking me questions they may be hesitant to ask an attending.”

“I appreciated getting his perspective on things,” Jacobsen said. “I plan to meet with him when I go to Seattle.”

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