Mentors help medical students find their career path

The College of Medicine mentorship program helps students choose their career paths.


Mentors Program Symposium
April 15, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Thompson Rooms, Student Center West

When Jarna Shah started medical school, she didn’t know what specialty to pursue.

But her experience being paired with a senior resident early on through the College of Medicine Mentors Program influenced her decision to go into anesthesiology. She received the placement she was hoping for on Match Day March 20 — she will train in anesthesiology at UIC.

“Having very little experience in the operating room, I found the mentor experience to be both novel and interesting,” said Shah, co-chair of the mentors program. “In that early rotation, I was able to have that experience firsthand, whereas other people may not be able to get the exposure that early in medical school.”

The UIC community can see what medical students are learning in the Mentors Program at a symposium Wednesday, 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Thompson Rooms, Student Center West, where about 140 students will present posters and case studies on their experience.

“The event is open to everyone,” Shah said, including undergraduates who want to pursue medicine, medical students, residents, faculty and students in other health specialties like pharmacy, dentistry and nursing.

First- and second-year medical students spend most of their time in the classroom learning about medicine, Shah said. But the 200 students who participate in the mentors program also shadow a senior resident at the hospital for up to nine half-days. Students can receive course credit for participating.

“The goal of the program is foster new relationships with residents in specialties that students may pursue in the future,” Shah said. “We’re seeing a trend where specialties are becoming increasingly more competitive and having this opportunity gives students a little bit of an advantage — gaining that knowledge and making connections.”

The mentors program reinforces the concepts students are learning in the classroom, said Jennifer Kwan, a resident in internal medicine and cardiology at UIC who founded the program in 2008 with College of Medicine administrators.

“The live session in a clinical setting allows for students to apply and integrate their course material,” she said. “Students appreciate the opportunities to see patient cases and to apply their coursework to understand why a patient with liver disease has jaundice.”


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