Wolk Medical Conference Mixes Pre-Meds, Alumni

Katherine DeVries

Pre-med: The path that implies endless labs in cinderblock classrooms, countless hours studying chemical formulas, four years stressing about MCATs and medical school but, in the end, one of the most rewarding career paths a student could choose. Last weekend, the Colgate University Health Science Advising Committee, with the help of alumnus Dr. Michael J. Wolk ’60, showed their support for this dedicated portion of the Colgate student body by hosting the second annual Wolk Medical Education Conference – a two-day conference consisting of lectures, panels, question-and-answer sessions in a general ambience of curiosity and interest in medicine.Each year at Colgate, approximately 100 incoming students commit themselves to the pre-med track; most of them are interested in allopathic medicine. However, many students are unaware of just how many different career opportunities are actually available to them. Thus, this year the Wolk conference was provided with a subtitle: “Diversity in Medicine.” The list of speakers included several practitioners – including several Colgate alumni – from the local community and the wider region from all different corners of the field.”We hope [students] take a good look at everything,” Laboratory Instructor Julie Chanatry, who helped administer the event, said. “Part of the education is to say there is a large spectrum of careers out there.”The event began Friday afternoon with an introduction in Love Auditorium. Remarks were given by Adjunct Professor of the Health Sciences and Director of Student Health Services Dr. Merrill Miller, as well as Wolk, who is currently a practicing cardiologist and is a past president of the American College of Cardiology.Keynote speaker Dr. Edward Dickinson ’82 addressed the crowd. Dickinson was an English major at Colgate and first got into emergency medicine by becoming involved in the Hamilton fire department during his sophomore year. Dickinson addressed important issues like the quickly changing situation in emergency medicine, as well as the reality of the sometimes over-glamorized emergency room life. “I am passionate about what I do…I love what I do,” Dickinson said.For the rest of Friday and Saturday, the conference proceeded with a series of lectures and panels with titles such as “Rural and Urban Healthcare,” “Family Life of a Physician,” and “Diversity in Medical Careers.” Included were discussions concerning the personal and social strains of a career in medicine, as well as various opportunities to chat with alumni and learn about the reality of medical school admissions.