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How Co-Curriculum influenced the pursuit of a medical career

November 17, 2021

Diya Kallam ‘18 recently celebrated her White Coat Ceremony at The George Washington University and is excited about her pursuit of medicine.

Her path to medicine was shaped at Madeira, largely by her Co-Curriculum experiences.

“Reflecting on my time at Madeira, my Co-Curriculum placements throughout the years are what helped me decide to pursue medicine,” notes Diya.

During her senior year, Diya interned with The George Washington Cancer Center. While that placement played a large role in her decision, Diya credits each year of Co-Curriculum with a certain amount of influence.

“Co-Curriculum gave me the real-world experience I needed and it provided insight into what healthcare and medicine were like. The real-world experience I gained wouldn’t have been possible elsewhere, especially as a high school student,” reflected Diya. The different focus each year allowed Diya to get a taste of the varying aspects of healthcare and medicine. Through volunteering sophomore year, she was able to experience the hospitality aspect of medicine. In her junior year on Capitol Hill, she learned more about global health and health policy on a larger scale. Finally, during her senior year she got to experience the research aspect of healthcare. “After the three internships”, Diya summarized, I realized that my passion lies at the intersection of the front-facing hospitality side and the research section, which tends to take place more behind-the-scenes.

Diya credits Co-Curriculum not only for guiding her career interests, but also for preparing her for a medical career.

“As a sophomore, I volunteered to work with kids with disabilities and I was able to learn valuable skills of patient-to-provider interaction. I was also given tools to help empathize with others and really show how to listen to concerns”. Diya continued, “as a junior, I was able to step back and view medicine from a broader perspective. Public health is a large part of our medical curriculum and my time on Capitol Hill gave me some initial exposure that has been helpful. 

While sophomore and junior years were building blocks for Diya, her senior year internship wholly solidified her interest and provided invaluable experience for her career exploration.

“I was the youngest member of the lab. The research was inspiring and being part of a project with life-changing implications at such a young age was incredible.” Diya explained, “I was specifically involved with testing an immunotherapeutic drug to help boost the immune system to fight against ovarian cancer. During my internship, I personally worked with their human samples of HeLa cells and other cancer cell lines extracted from patients. I will always remember that experience. Working at my placement gave me such a head start for what I would be exposed to if I chose medicine - which I did. It also gave me a solid network of connections that will help me in the future.”

Diya’s interest in medicine percolated when she started at Madeira. Through Co-Curriculum, Diya was able to take that interest, explore it in the context of the real world through several different angles, and then make an informed decision about her future. It solidified her interest and she is now well into medical school. While she doesn’t know exactly what field of medicine she is going to specialize in, she knows that she’ll figure it out soon and she will be prepared. Diya concludes, “not only did Co-Curriculum make a more competitive medical school applicant, but it also gave me early exposure I needed to commit to a strenuous career in medicine.”

Alumnae Co-Curriculum