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The Student Alumni Ambassador Experience: Summer 2016
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Each Alumni Student Ambassador has a different story-- where they came from, how they chose medicine and where they see themselves down the road. Although the ambassadors participate in the same program, it affects each individual differently. We asked our ambassadors to share the impact they felt from participating in the program.


 

Ahmed Mohamed:

"Gluacoma, pancreatoma, osteoarthritis, actinic keratosis, and endometriosis. What do these terms all have in common? I would not have known what they meant prior to my experience as a Student Alumni Ambassador for USF Health. Now, I know that these conditions can be treated with posterior chamber intraocular lens implants, a whipple procedure, a complete arthroplasty, electrodessication and curettage, and a hysterectomy, respectively.

As a Student Alumni Ambassador, I had the opportunity of shadowing USF Morsani College of Medicine alumni, and learning from them, before even starting medical school! I am truly thankful for this experience, and I earnestly encourage anyone with a fascination for medicine to seek this opportunity.

"This experience gave me an undeniable head start on my medical training yet reinvigorated my curiosity and fascination for medicine, and for that I am forever grateful. I am excited as I look forward to what the future has to offer."

Student Alumni Ambassador means contacting alumni in various ways. My experience began in the office, where I met my fellow ambassador Jose Jesurajan. Two overnight shadowing trips, three hundred phone calls, four PowerPoint presentations, and five hundred stuffed envelopes later, Jose and I are entering medical school as colleagues with a shared experience. Being an ambassador not only helped me network and make connections with alumni, but it also provided me with a valuable friendship.

This opportunity is the perfect balance of internship and shadowing. I developed my professional and communication skills while gaining an understanding of the intricacies and inner workings of medicine as a career. This experience gave me an undeniable head start on my medical training yet reinvigorated my curiosity and fascination for medicine, and for that I am forever grateful. I am excited as I look forward to what the future has to offer."


Jose Jesurajan:

Growing up as a child in one of the ubiquitous, homogenous HDB flats in Singapore that could be drawn straight from a George Orwell novel, I can’t say that I always had the goal of becoming a physician. I was carefree and had a go-with-the-flow attitude that didn’t set well within my parents’ minds. But I was still a kid; nothing was permanent, and everything in my mind was fleeting until my parents handed me a shocker that I can say is still the biggest one in my life: “Our family is moving to the United States and we are doing this for your career aspirations.”

I was speechless, and initially I had no idea why career aspirations were brought up as a reason for a kid who just finished elementary school. However, as I entered 6th grade in a local middle school in Tampa, I started to discover the great possibilities that lie in the “land of golden opportunities.” In the next few years, I was able to volunteer in a local hospital and community shelter, and even watch a few neuroscience TED talk videos performed by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, a combination of which eventually elicited my great interest in the medical field. And now, thanks to the opportunities that my parents have provided me with, I am proud to say that I am a first-generation medical student in my family.

As a first-generation medical student, USF Health Alumni Relations Office’ Summer Student Ambassador Program has provided me with numerous opportunities to shadow doctors of many different specialties and backgrounds, some of which had no prior family members in the medical field. I was able to connect with these graduates, who are some of the best medical professionals in our nation, and learn a lot about the arduous paths they took to achieving their goals. Dr. Lowella Esperanza, a dermatologist, had shared an extremely similar background with me, as she too was a first-generation medical student that came over from overseas. We were able to not only talk about the individual paths we took to enter medical school, but also about some of the reasons why Dr. Esperanza chose to focus on dermatology.

I was also able to shadow Dr. Chris Pittman, a radiologist who specializes in caring for women who struggle with varicose veins and other vascular problems. His treatment plans were one-of-a-kind; he used cutting-edge, advanced techniques in his clinic to treat the vascular problems, and was also able to make women feel more secure about their bodies. One of the most surprising details I had noted was the lasting relationships that Dr. Pittman formed with his patients. As a matter of fact, all of the patients that I had met addressed him as a close friend rather than a doctor, praising his efforts in the clinic.

"This opportunity, along with all of the staff members that have been present to help and aid me through my journey, have been a true blessing. I had the chance to do things I had never dreamed of doing as a kid, and now, I have an opportunity to reach for the stars and continue to achieve limitless goals in my life."

Through this internship, I was also able to travel to areas to which I never had the chance to observe in much detail. Our graduates are spread widely over the nation, and areas such as Sarasota contained a significant number of physicians that have a relatively Sarasota Memorial Hospital was about 2 hours away from my home, and I was permitted to travel and shadow Dr. David Sugar, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Sugar specialized in knee replacements, and I had the chance to observe two replacements that day. Replacing one’s knee can often be a sign of an ailing skeletal system. However, Dr. Sugar views knee replacements as a small “fountain of youth” inside his patients, and allows them to perform tasks that they were not able to perform previously. His clinic sees more than 30 patients a day, and many patients traveled from far away to obtain the best orthopedic care possible through Dr. Sugar.

All in all, I was able to craft lasting connections that will go a long way in helping me achieve my dream of becoming a physician. This opportunity, along with all of the staff members that have been present to help and aid me through my journey, have been a true blessing. I had the chance to do things I had never dreamed of doing as a kid, and now, I have an opportunity to reach for the stars and continue to achieve limitless goals in my life.


 Thank you to all of our alumni who participated in this year's program including:

Brad Bjornstad, MD ’77 - Chief Medical Officer

Lowella Esperanza, MD ’91 - Dermatology

Michael Esposito, MD – Neuroradiology for recommending colleague, Dr. Narayan Viswanadhan

Richard Lichtenstein, MD ’87 - Radiology

Nishit Patel, MD ’10 - Dermatology

Scott Perrin, MD ’04 - Radiology

Christopher Pittman, MD ’88 - Vascular and Interventional Radiology

Thomas Pusateri, MD ’84 - Ophthalmology

Rachel Ray, MD ’92 - Pediatrics

Jonathan Stewart, MD ’79 - Psychiatry

David Sugar, MD ’92 - Orthopedic Surgery

Michael Swor, MD ’81 - Gynecology

Leigh Tanner, MD ’07 - Anesthesiology


 

Interested in getting involved?

Please contact us at medicinealum@health.usf.edu



USF Morsani College of Medicine Alumni Society
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MDC 70, Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: 813-974-1470 I Fax: 813-974-2936

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