Sydney Fasulo ’09, who clearly has a penchant for matchmaking, has, over the years, united 23 fledgling Hamilton grads with jobs at a Boston area orthopedics center. Many of the alums used their medical assistant position as a gap-year (or gap-years) gig before going on to graduate school in a medical field.
For Megan Calabrese ’12, who graduated in May from Upstate Medical University, Fasulo’s connection provided a unique opportunity. Calabrese wanted to take a year off between earning her Hamilton degree and attending medical school. She also preferred clinical work to research. The job she got at Boston Sports & Shoulder Center was just the right fit.
“You got a little bit of clinical medicine exposure but also the business side, which was valuable to have because it’s something you’re never really taught through your medical training,” Calabrese explains. She was among the first crop of alumni that Fasulo introduced to Boston Sports, which has several locations in suburban Boston.
Fasulo’s own relationship with the center began through a family connection, and she was hired there as a medical assistant in 2010. “It’s just an awesome place to learn,” she says.
Her first recruit was a friend and fellow member of the Class of 2009. “From there it seemed to take off, and I said, how about we hire a few more, and I can train them? And then it became a program after 2012,” Fasulo recalls. As the center’s ambassador to Hamilton, she traveled to the Hill to meet with groups of students.
“I remember attending the session as a junior and thinking, ‘Wow, this would be a perfect job in the field of medicine during my gap year while I apply to med school,’” says Liza Gergenti ’14. That’s how things worked out. Gergenti graduated, took a job at the center and found that the work gave her insight into how a medical practice operates. She wasn’t keen on working the front desk but enjoyed observing the professionals and learning to put on boots or casts, take out stitches and counsel patients on what to expect post-op.
Gergenti is now a student at Penn State College of Medicine. By the Hamilton Career Center count, eight alumni who worked at Boston Sports have attended, are attending or are about to enter medical school. Two more are in physician’s assistant programs. Others are applying to medical programs. And more are queuing up, alerted to the opportunity through the Career Center. Seven members of the Class of 2017 have accepted jobs at Boston Sports, and all five who spoke with the Hamilton Alumni Review see the move as a smart stepping-off point for medical careers.
Djinnie Timoleon views the job a good transition from college to a career in nursing and eventually as a nurse practitioner. She wanted to be in the Boston area, where she grew up. Hilary Giles plans on taking two gap years before med school and wants the clinical experience Boston Sports offers. It’s pretty much the same story for Jonathan Capelin and Connor Crutchfield. Michelle Chapman was looking for work that would be helpful before she applies to physician’s assistant school. “I shadowed an orthopedic PA a couple of summers back, and I thought it was really cool, really interesting, so I thought it would be perfect,” Chapman says about the Boston job.
The count of Hamilton students who went from Boston Sports to med school includes Fasulo, who attends St. George’s University School of Medicine. She left Boston Sports earlier in 2017 and hadn’t heard about the crew of 2017 students who hired on. That came as good news to Fasulo, who hopes the relationship she developed continues. “It really is an optimum opportunity for potential medical professionals to get a first-hand look at what their future could be like before they commit,” she says.
— Maureen A. Nolan