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Residency Ophthalmology, Research


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, and 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 in microsurgical techniques. On the other hand, I also want the long-term treatment of patients which chronic diseases 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 research interest. 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, and a nationally recognized conference. Upon entering medical school, I began my career on a project involving the transplantation of pancreatic islet cells to treat 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. It contains many exciting 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 defined 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 corpses. Shortly after that, I purchased my beer brewing equipment and was hooked, but making sure to clean myself off first. Zymurgy, in many ways, allows me to be both a chemist and an artist. For example, even though there are four essential ingredients to beer (water, yeast, malt, and hops), the variety of these ingredients available and the way one chooses to 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 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 interests came together in one specialty. In my first week alone, the variety of clinical challenges within the field was precise. I was involved in treating 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 severe visual disease and in the next had preserved a patient's vision was a great feeling. In addition, using high-technology equipment for diagnosis and therapy was an exciting part of my experience.

My objective is to gain a position in an ophthalmology residency program that will allow me to practice in either the academic or private sector throughout 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.

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