Max Vaickus ’12 had been coming to Hamilton long before his first year as a student on the Hill. For years, he would accompany his family each winter and summer to visit his brother Louis Vaickus ’05. The Hill’s stately buildings made an impression early on: “that’s what I thought a college was supposed to look like,” Vaickus remembers. When it was time to choose his own college, he too picked Hamilton. Now, he will soon begin a career as a medical assistant with the Boston Sports and Shoulder Center.
Like many recent graduates, Vaickus was able to enter the world of sports medicine thanks in part to Hamilton’s alumni network: Associate Director of the Career Center Leslie North put him in touch with a recent alumna who worked at the Sports and Shoulder Center. After a meeting in the Little Pub, the alumna invited Vaickus to interview for the job in Boston.
Prior to receiving the position at the Sports and Shoulder Clinic, Vaickus remembers that job-hunting “was like taking another class,” but credits North with helping him through the job-hunting process and toward his ultimate goal of medical school. “She knows my future plans really well,” he said.
For Vaickus, his work at the Sports and Shoulder Clinic will be a natural extension of his life at Hamilton. It will combine his academic interests in the way the body works with his extracurricular interests not only in sports, but also in community outreach. “Ideally, I’d just like to be working with patients,” he said. “Knowing how the body works is fascinating.”
As a varsity lacrosse goalie for much of his time at Hamilton, Vaickus has certainly endured his share of sports-related injuries, but his accomplishments far outweighed the temporary pain of sprains and bruises. Vaickus was named to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) 2012 Spring All-Sportsmanship team in recognition of his exemplary conduct on the field. According to the NESCAC’s website, members of the All-Sportsmanship team “exhibit respect for themselves, teammates, coaches, opponents, and spectators.” He was also named a co-player of the week for the week of April 2, 2012. Vaickus credits lacrosse with teaching him the importance of teamwork and time management, though he is typically modest about his own successes with the team.
Vaickus was able to bring his positive attitude off the field and into the kitchen when he spearheaded the revival of Hamilton Against Hunger, a volunteer organization sponsored by the Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity (HAVOC). Hamilton Against Hunger is a food recycling program that packages leftover food from the campus’ dining halls and then donates it to local food banks and soup kitchens via the Utica Rescue Mission. Vaickus admits that the program “wasn’t originally on my radar,” but said that it was “a very enriching experience.” He praises Bon Appétit for being willing to collaborate on the project from the beginning.
“Everybody was very positive,” he said. “There wasn’t anybody with cold feet.”
When Vaickus needed to recruit a solid volunteer base to staff the program, he looked no further than the locker room: members of Hamilton’s varsity teams are the program’s primary volunteers. Because of their busy schedules, Vaickus points out that Hamilton Against Hunger is “a good way to give [student athletes] a chance to help out on campus. A lot of [student athletes] want to help, but don’t necessarily have the time.”
Where does Vaickus see himself in five years? “Oh, man—I’ll be 27 then,” he says, eyes widening. “I guess I’ll be prepping for a residency. From there? I don’t know—wherever it takes me.”