Early during his first year, Joaquin De Rojas (M'14) attended a lecture by Phillip (Jay) Storm, Jr., M.D., FEL '04, now chief of neurosurgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Storm mentioned that he mentors several Penn medical students each year, allowing them to shadow him during surgery as well as in the laboratory. Mr. De Rojas took him up on the offer.
"I was able to scrub in and work with him in ways not usually available to first- or second-year students," said Mr. De Rojas, who plans to go into neurosurgery after graduating in the spring. "It made me focused and dedicated during the years of basic science because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know people who haven't had a mentor, and sometimes they seem lost."
The two remain in close contact, with Dr. Storm answering questions about neurosurgery and medical school, offering tips on interacting with patients and writing a recommendation for Mr. De Rojas.
"When I was a medical student I thought it was nice if an attending would spend time with me. We forget what it's like - how hungry medical students are for experience," said Dr. Storm. He created a fellowship for first-year medical students soon after arriving at CHOP.
Adam Resnick, PhD, Dr. Storm's research partner first at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and now at CHOP, is also a student mentor. The two bring considerable expertise to the study of pediatric brain tumors. Dr Storm completed his medical degree, surgery internship, residency in neurosurgery and neuro-oncology research fellowship at Hopkins and a neurosurgery fellowship at CHOP. Dr. Resnick earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Hopkins. Their research includes analyzing tissue from every tumor removed during surgery for genetic abnormalities, giving their students and trainees a first-hand look at translational medicine.
Other mentoring experiences include a summer picnic as well as Slow-Cooker Sundays, where students can enjoy a meal prepared by Dr. Storm's wife Stacey and demonstrate their superiority in fantasy football.
"Working with students is exciting and fun. I enjoy their enthusiasm," said Dr. Storm. "We keep in touch. Years later, they still remember the firsts they did with me."
According to Mr. De Rojas, "Dr. Storm is an incredible role model. He does what he has to do to get the job done. He's down to earth and people really relate to him. He's a normal good guy who happens to be a neurosurgeon. The relationship is very valuable to me."
To help other Penn Medicine students and alumni feel the same satisfaction, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently set up a student-mentor "match" - the Penn Medicine Mentorship Program.
Each semester, alumni will receive asking about their professional affiliation, the topics they feel qualified to address and the number of students they would like to mentor. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations shares the information with students and then matches them with alumni through email. Students are eager to learn from you - we hope you will consider participating. Keep an eye on your email in the coming weeks to register!
For over a decade, Penn Medicine Alumni have opened their homes to residents-to-be through the Host Our Students as they Travel (HOST) program. HOST alumni give students relief from travel expenses, as well as a friendly welcome and insider tips on practicing medicine in their hometown.
Last year Penn Medicine matched over 62 students with alumni in 26 states. Thank you to all the volunteers who registered and provided greatly valued support to students.
Boston, New York, and North Carolina continue to be the most requested areas. Based on last year's results, hosts are especially needed for St. Louis, Baltimore, and Chicago. Our students travel across the US, and we hope you will consider volunteering wherever you are.
Your hospitality will be greatly appreciated!
Second-year Giffin Daughtridge is a winner in the Teaching Value and Choosing Wisely competition. Read about his project to improve cost consciousness and decision making in Perelman School students here.
There's still time! Click here to register for the Penn Medicine AAMC cocktail reception.
A Better Guide to 88,000 Alumni
You can now easily connect with Perelman School and other Penn alumni using the newly improved QuakerNet, an online directory of over 88,000 members. The new QuakerNet alumni database allows you to customize searches based on geographic region, class year, interests, or profession.
Redesigned by Development and Alumni Relations and Wharton Computing, QuakerNet allows you to share hobbies and interests as well as upload your resume and list professional affiliations. You can link your profile to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media pages so your classmates and colleagues can stay connected to you on those places too.
QuakerNet also connects to the Penn Alumni Career Network, where you can discuss career options and seek advice from experts and professionals within any chosen career.
Visit the new QuakerNet portal to join Penn's online alumni community.