Now that I have matched I would like to discuss what attracted me to Northwestern as one of my top choices for residency.
Northwestern first impressed me not in scheduling an interview but canceling one. One of the unique challenges of the virtual application season was the occasional surprise interview invitation. Having scheduled my initial interview date for Northwestern very early in the interview season I suddenly found myself confronted the day prior with an invitation from another institution I held in high esteem. While generally cautioned to not even attempt to reschedule interviews with less than a week’s notice I reached out to Northwestern’s admissions office and explained the situation. Unlike other institutions where I was in similar circumstances, they readily made the necessary adjustments politely and expeditiously. Far from castigating me they expressed sympathy for the unique challenges of the year. Thus, even from before I interviewed months later, Northwestern gave me the impression of being valued and having access to a responsive and caring departmental staff.
A further draw of Northwestern was that it was the only institution where I found active research on how to effectively conduct pathology education. It is my firm belief that pathologists are largely educators by the nature of their work, however I also seek formal training in undergraduate medical education, so a department involved in this type of work seemed an ideal place to find mentors. Inextricably linked with this were the clear and detailed answers I received to the questions of how residents are involved in medical school teaching and how they themselves learn.
The final strong draw was Chicago. Chicago was the backdrop for the events that most shaped my decision to enter medicine. Central among these was the time I spent doing pediatric neurology shadowing at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Not only were the cases fascinating but more crucially I learned of the power of physicians as advocates, a clear motivation for my pursuit of the credibility of an MD. More broadly, for someone motivated by work with SCD and holding a deep interest in becoming a hematopathologist, advancing training and the science in the city of Sickle Cell’s discovery carries special meaning. Chicago is also home of several of my role models within the pathology world. Kamran Mirza at Loyola who is a great hematopathologist and showed the world the power of technology to advocate for pathology. Hussain Sattar, perhaps the most influential pathologist in the country through his development of Pathoma and of course Vinay Kumar of Robbin’s fame who first set me on the path of pathology. These men are not only luminaries in their fields but due to our common cultural heritage were vital examples of representation that made me first consider pathology.
I am incredibly happy to be spending the next 4 years of my life at Northwestern and I hope you now understand why.