Alumni Connect with First-Year Students at MD Alumni Mixer
Date: July 29, 2011
Dr. Theresa Wee with 1st-year med student Kristin King
There is nothing that revives memories about your own time as a student more vividly than talking to someone a generation later, who is following in your footsteps.This year’s MD Alumni Mixer began a new tradition, bringing the incoming class of MD students face to face with scores of alumni from the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Full of eager anticipation and excitement, the students fanned out among the alumni to learn about the experiences of those who preceded them as medical students at JABSOM.
Conversations bubbled around the room, as the physician alums were asked specific questions contained on “ice breaker” index cards carried by each student.
First-year medical student (MS-1) Kori Matsuura found the woman named on her card in a corner of the room: Vanessa Wong, MD, Class of 1999. After just a few minutes, Matsuura knew Wong had attended the Imi Ho’ola Post-Baccalaureate Program, which prepares qualified students for medical study and that she named one of her two children, Moani, after an Imi classmate. Matsuura also learned Wong is a family physician, who completed her residency at Wahiawa General Hospital and attended high school in Guam.
“What was your fondest memory at JABSOM?” Matsuura gently pressed. “That’s a hard one”, Wong replied. “It was a really, really good time. A lot of good memories,” Wong continued. “After all, I’m still here!” she chuckled. Dr. Wong also serves as an Assistant Professor at the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence.
When Associate Dean for Medical Education Richard Kasuya (Class of 1989) called out numbers for the first in a series of door prizes, a student rushed forward in unbridled excitement to collect a brand new clinical anatomy atlas. In fact, two students came forward. Only one had the winning ticket number. But every MD in the room understood how the thrill of a good anatomy book could cause you to leap before you looked too closely at your ticket.
There were other surprises, too, as the alumni and students mingled enjoying food, and conversation. Theresa Wee, MD, Class of 1979, bumped into MS-1 Kristin King, whom she immediately recognized as her daughter’s roommate from college in Santa Barbara, California.
“My daughter Malia and Kristin were roommates at Westmont College,” Dr. Wee explained. “I had hoped Kristin was going to come to JABSOM, but didn’t know for sure until just now!”
King, in fact, was inspired to become a physician by Dr. Wee. “I wasn’t sure, I thought maybe I wanted to become a Physician Assistant,” said King. “But Dr. Wee kept telling me I could go farther and actually become an MD.”
Dr. Wee chimed in, “I remember we were walking on the beach when we had that conversation.” At that, they hugged each other in happiness.
The MD Alumni Mixer, with its gaggle of brand new medical students and alumni of all ages, was a warm reminder that there is also nothing that makes you feel quite so fulfilled as having a real impact on the lives of those who follow in your footsteps.
Please enjoy the following slideshow from the event.