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General Pediatrician, York Pediatrics
Choosing a Major
Desiring to cultivate her blossoming interest in the sciences, Elizabeth did not hesitate to declare a major in biology at the start of her student career at Messiah. Reflecting on the career paths available through this field, she at first seriously considered a vocation in medical technology, but the prospect of spending her days sequestered in a lab seemed bleak. Prompted by interaction and friendship with pre-med majors, Elizabeth began to research medical schools. Although she never declared a pre-med major at Messiah, she decided to become a doctor to fuse her interest in science with a strong desire to interact with others on a personal level.
The Messiah Experience
In the midst of classes and academic work, Elizabeth managed to find time to devote to various activities, both on and off campus, that reflected her personal interests. As a member of the Med Aware Club, she had the opportunity to both socialize with other students focused on a career in medicine and learn more about the medical profession. She spent the summer months of her junior and senior year involved in research projects at Hershey Medical Center, and during the school year she worked at the nearby Messiah Village retirement community in food services as a dietary assistant.
Elizabeth was also actively engaged in student life on campus as a member of the Judicial Council, now known as the Peer Review Board, and through her involvement with an environmental-awareness group that raised consciousness of environmental issues through recycling and clean-up projects. As a peer group leader, Elizabeth seized the chance to impact the lives of first year students during their first crucial weeks of classes.
Another important aspect of Elizabeth's Messiah experience centers is the lasting friendships that have endured and developed through her post-collegiate life: "I've formed some very important friendships that have continued to be supportive throughout the difficult process of medical school--reinforcing faith and belief systems to keep me guided through this and to see the importance of what I do and not just to make money."
Elizabeth believes that she still reaps the benefits of the skills she developed on campus as an undergraduate. Though students are sometimes tempted to view general education classes as superfluous, she believes that these classes forced her to "learn how to organize time and activities." Constant interaction with students and professors who represented a myriad of personalities and temperaments has allowed Elizabeth to "learn how to deal with people and differences, [which] is helpful when dealing with patients and parents." She also values the foundational scientific knowledge base she accrued at Messiah before medical school: "Basic science was beneficial for doing well in medical school, which is information I use in my practice."
What to Do Next
Elizabeth explains that the medical career path does not leave much room for indecision after college, for the required steps for entering the field of medicine - taking the MCATS, deciding on medical school, applying for financial aid, etc. - are organized in a tight schedule. She took the MCATS during the fall of her senior year at Messiah and applied and interviewed for medical schools before she graduated. During the summer after graduation, she applied for financial aid, and she started at the Penn State School of Medicine in the fall. "The first two years of medical school are basic science training, and the remaining two years are in the field getting clinical experience," she explains.
Elizabeth completed her "specialty training in pediatrics," or residency, at Geisinger. Her residency fueled her growing interest in pediatric medicine, and after three years she learned through a pharmeceutical representative of an employment opportunity at York Pediatrics. Thrilled to be working near her hometown of Mechanicsburg, she accepted a position as general pediatrician at York.
A Typical Day
Find out how other Messiah grads work with children in their career:
Profile by Brianna Davidson, August 2005