I think throughout your life or in medical school, you have many mentors. So I think that's been something that I've really enjoyed about being here.
Sinai is full of a lot of people that are phenomenal researchers and experts in their area, and what we want to do, we don't limit our students to come in and say, "These are the 10 projects you have to work on." It is the reverse. We say what are your interests? And we try to connect you with those mentors.
I mean, I have mentors for like different parts of my life. And I think Mount Sinai does a great job of pairing you with mentors early on that are kind of like your faculty mentor or your mental health advisor, and they make sure that everyone has those opportunities. But they don't require that you meet only with them. You can also find your own. So I have my PhD mentor who's like my kind of PI, Primary iInvestigator for my lab. I have my medical school advisor, Tolly Schwartz, who's the Dean of the MD/PhD program, and like the medical training. I have a couple of independent physicians that I've had throughout my first two years of medical school that I just kind of clicked with and was like, "Yo, I'm not trying to be, you know, a transplant surgeon, but I think you're amazing." And, you know, they've been really, I think, kind of integral to my development.
My very first mentor I've met with, I loved. And I researched her, and I did all the background, and I was like, "Wow, like this really aligns with the things that I'm passionate about, and I really want her to be my mentor." And, lo and behold, we had matching interests, and one of the things I was really interested in, which is doula care, she was actually doing a project on at the time and offered to let me work on the project.
I really pursued some of my surgery interests early on to get to know people, and I think that led to shadowing opportunities and me joining the research group.
I also am working this summer with a reconstructive surgeon. I'm interested in working with veterans as a physician, potentially in reconstructive surgery, so doing cranial facial reconstruction, for, you know, gunshot wounds, burn victims. Really just that field of reconstructive surgeries is really interesting to me right now. But I have mentors kind of in other areas that I'm exploring too.
So it basically starts from when you walk in. The rest of it is, honestly, meeting with people, talking to people. You will have student advisors. You can speak to them. You can speak to past students that have done research. We have directories of students that have done research with that mentor. You can reach out to the mentor, reach out to the student, find out what is the student's, you know, what was that experience like? Is that mentor kind of a little intense? Are they, you know, very supportive? Are they micromanaging? Do they challenge you? You learn more and you look for that kind of connection, not just the content, but what's the right mentor for you.
From talking to a mentor and asking what drives them in their career, you know, their values and like why they're in medicine or research, is that generally where you want to be in like 10 or 15 years? And if the answer is yes, I think that's a really strong positive indication. And you should write all the case reports you can to try and be useful, you know, so early on in medical school.
The opportunity of like finding people who you, you know, have struck a chord with and or have a similar professional interest with are vast, I'd say, here, and people really are looking forward to those teaching kind of mentorship opportunities. And so it's really more about finding which ones that like fit you and kind of fill you up.