David Patrick, Jr. ’11

JOB TITLE: Medical student
ORGANIZATION: Uniformed Services University  
LOCATION: Bethesda, Maryland
GRADUATE DEGREE: currently in school for M.D.

What was your first position after college? My first position after college was as the research coordinator for the Center for Hip and Knee Replacement at Columbia University Medical Center. I came to my job through connections made at Trinity, and more specifically, connections through the Chemistry and Biochemistry departments. My primary supervisor at the CHKR was a Trinity alum who majored biochemistry, and the three people who had the job before me were also Trinity alumni with majors in chemistry or biochemistry.   

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? Yes. By having the opportunity to take classes in multiple disciplines, I was able to connect with the patients I worked with on a variety of topics on a daily basis. Also, by taking classes all over the College, I was able to continue on my career path without having to take any more classes.   

What aspects of your Trinity experience have been important to advancing your career or graduate school experience? For me, the research experience that I gained at Trinity College was key to advancing in my career. In health care, there is becoming more and more of a demand for research experience. At Trinity, I was able to learn the basics of paper writing, podium speaking, and poster presentations, as well as the introductory steps to conducting research. By learning these skills at Trinity, I was able to hit the ground running at work, and my employer did not have to spend six months training me on the basics.   

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? To prepare for a career in health care, I believe that one must have as much exposure to hospitals, medicine, and research as possible. The future of health care is in the success of research, and many medical schools are emphasizing the importance of research and real-world experience for their applicants. Additionally, medical school applicants should spend as much time in hospitals as possible. By experiencing the hospital setting, people can truly find out whether or not medicine will be the right path for them.

What is the biggest misconception about the medical research field? The biggest misconception about clinical medical research is the speed at which success comes. Research is a long, slow process, and it often takes years to accomplish anything. Even if you do get results, your research might not be accepted by the medical community.