By: Lisa Dinh
On March 5, 2015, Premed Magazine attended the inaugural Health Careers Fair hosted at The University of Georgia.
Sarah Ouderkirk and Callie Ray of UGA’s pre-med honor society, Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), along with The University of Georgia Premedical Office arranged the gathering.
Ouderkirk, President of AED, describes the event:
“We invited [all the programs] a couple months ago. Invitations were sent out by the premedical office in conjunction with AED inviting pretty much anyone in a healthcare field to come and set up a booth: medical schools, pre-optometry, PA/PT schools. High schoolers and college students are in attendance.”
Sarah Ouderkirk is a junior double-majoring in Biology and Psychology with pre-med intent.
“We wanted to reach out beyond medical schools, reach out to all the [pre-health] fields; 40 to 50 schools are in attendance. We invited as many schools nationally as we could. Florida, Michigan and Tufts are among attendees. There are representatives from lots of different regions.”
Callie Ray adds. She is Vice President of AED and a junior Biological Sciences major also with pre-med intent.
Pre-med students may look to AED as a helpful pre-medical organization.
Ouderkirk explains, “AED- The Georgia Alpha Chapter, is a pre-med honor society on campus found years ago, before the Automated External Defibrillator! It is an honor society meaning we do look at GPA and require a certain number of credit hours to get in. We host monthly meetings and have some volunteer opportunities. Our newest program is our Mentor-Mentee program which connects students. [The idea is] to put juniors and seniors in touch with freshmen and sophomores to guide students on their path to medical school.”
On what she considers the greatest benefit of AED, Ray smiles,
“I love getting close to the advisors, the premed office, they’re the greatest people on campus. [General] advisors can be less helpful sometimes, so it’s great to have specific pre-med advisors.”
Ouderkirk adds, “I loved getting to meet and host different medical schools. They’ve come to campus, GRU, EMORY, Mercer and we get to host them and introduce them to students and ourselves, which I think could be beneficial during interviews”
“You’re comfortable with the situation and the schools which is really cool” – Ray
Ray initially found difficulty in choosing between her passions:
“I have always loved science. I have no doctors in my family, and I love art and music, so the question was art or science? Honestly deep down I knew I couldn’t abandon science. So when I picked my major at UGA I chose biological sciences. I fell in love with a lot of [scientific] things. I still love art, but in my major I do research with people with disabilities. I also work at Camp Twin Lakes, helping those who are really very different from myself. I love surrounding myself with people who have different experiences. The doctor-patient relationship is something that I can’t wait to have.”
On her considerations of specialty, Ray contends, “I’ve only shadowed pediatricians so I know love pediatrics, but there’s so much out there so I’m not going to know until I go through rotations. I’m being pulled toward psychiatry as well. I love exploring the different fields.”
Sarah Ouderkirk explains her background with the pre-med route:
“My story is different. I do have a mother that is an emergency room physician. But one thing that I’ve learned in my undergraduate career is that the story isn’t about my mom anymore. She’s encouraged me to try other things, but I’ve discovered that medicine is what I really want to do.”
Ouderkirk asserts her personal experiences are the impetus for her interest in health care:
“I volunteered in the Cure Hospital in the Dominican Republic over Thanksgiving Break, and as I was sitting on the plane 30000 feet off the ground looking out at the sky, I realized the opportunities in health care out there. We can go and serve and bring food to other countries that need it, but eventually that goes away. If we use our health care to make people better, that doesn’t go away. That is something we are truly benefiting people with. And that’s what I want to do. I want to get out there. I believe that serving people in our community where we are is super important. I’m actually involved in Mercy Health Center and have enjoyed getting to see a whole other side of Athens that most students never see: the poor, suffering, sick. We can see [these people] in the hospital, but those are often the people with insurance. Mercy serves people without insurance. 150% below poverty line. Serving the sickest of the sick and poorest of the poor either at home or internationally, we can do that as doctors; the skills are important. Medical skills will serve people well.”
Callie Ray and Sarah Ouderkirk both encourage students to participate in AED.
They proudly proclaim, “come to AED meetings. You don’t have to be a member, but the meetings are helpful!”
AED meetings are held regularly on Tuesdays at 7PM once a month in 404C in the Biological Sciences Building. Visit www.aed.uga.edu for more information.