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When I began medical school, I wasn't sure which field of medicine I would be most interested in pursuing. Now that I have explored the range of possibilities through preceptorships, research, personal and clinical experiences, I have discovered that ophthalmology contains all of the elements of medical care that I have enjoyed during my training.
I learned while on my surgical rotations how exciting it is to participate in the care of patients which acute illness or injury. I enjoy working with my hands and look forward to the challenge of becoming proficient at microsurgical techniques. On the other hand, I also enjoy the long term treatment of patients which chronic disease and the relationships that can often develop from this type of interaction. Through other clerkships, I learned that I desire to work with patients of all ages and that meeting the diagnostic challenges of an office based medical practice can be very stimulating.
Throughout my education, I have always cultivated a strong interest in research. Initially, as an undergraduate student, I participated in a study of the trout immune system and its relationship to stress and infection. During this time I had several opportunities to present my work to the department, the university immunology community, as well as a nationally recognized conference. Upon entering medical school, I began work on a project involving the transplantation of pancreatic islet cells as a treatment of diabetes mellitus. I was awarded a fellowship to pursue summer research during my first year and I am currently a candidate for the M.D. with Distinction in Research Award. I have had further occasion to present my work and have contributed to a recently submitted manuscript detailing my project. contains many interesting opportunities for research in immunology and therefore would allow me the potential for further growth in this area.
Outside of medical school, but in some ways related to it, I discovered a hobby known as zymurgy. Zymurgy can be defied as the art and science of brewing beer. I learned about this hobby from my anatomy partner in my first year of medical school while working into the early hours of the morning on our cadaver. Shortly after that, but making sure to clean myself off first, I purchased my beer brewing equipment and was hooked. Zymurgy in many ways allows me to be both chemist and artist. For example, even though there are four basic ingredients to beer (water, yeast, malt and hops), the variety of these ingredients available and the way one chooses ot process and incorporate them allows for unending possibilities. Furthermore, even though you may follow a recipe to the letter, there are always slight variations related to personal style or the particular surroundings (i.e., temperature, humidity, and indigenous strains of yeast that vary from place to place) that will assure a unique product every time. Since I began brewing, I have received great satisfaction in sharing my beer with family and friends, exchanging my brew with other enthusiasts, and, of course, enjoying the fruits of my labor. Also, I have gained a new appreciation for the subtle flavors and colors present in beer and the techniques and ingredients needed to create them.
During my ophthalmology clerkship, I discovered that many of my interest came together in one specialty. In my first week alone, the variety of clinical challenges within the field was clear. I was involved in both the treatment of a child with strabismus and an elderly patient with closed-angle glaucoma who required emergent surgical intervention. In either case, knowing that in one instance we had prevented serious visual disease and in the next had preserved a patient's vision was a great feeling. In addition, using high technology equipment for both diagnosis and therapy was an exciting part of my experience.
My objective is to gain a position at an ophthalmology residency program that will give me the opportunity to practice in either the academic or private sector over the span of my career. Ophthalmology combines all of the elements of practicing medicine that I have enjoyed during my training including precision surgical procedures, interesting research opportunities, and the chance to work with a broad range of patients with acute and chronic disease. I am a mature, hard working individual who is eager to meet the demands of a dynamic, challenging and exciting career in ophthalmology.