As Residency Program director and vice chair for education at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Stephen Knohl ’93 knows medical school firsthand. Knohl began his medical career journey when he attended Hamilton, and eventually arrived at his current job, in which he coordinates and leads medical students in their residency.

Knohl credits some of his success to the support of his mentors, some of which assisted him while he attended Hamilton, which is why he is so eager to support Hamilton students as they begin their medical careers. Accordingly, on Jan. 30, Knohl returned to Hamilton for a presentation titled, “Connect to Careers in Medicine: ‘The Road to Medical School and Beyond.” He provided a comprehensive explanation of the components of applying to medical school and beyond, touching on some of his own experiences as well as what he has witnessed in his current job.

Much like when it comes to applying for college, medical schools look out for well-rounded students. Attending medical school “doesn’t mean that you have to be interested in medicine the entire time,” said Knohl; instead, potential applicants should work on broadening their interests, a luxury that a liberal arts education certainly affords, and even endorses.

Communication skills are vital to successful doctor-patient relationships, as is a broad knowledge of culture, interaction, and people. While pre-med students should focus on excelling in their coursework and the MCATS, they should also find ways to improve their communities through volunteer work, which exhibits dedication that will help when further along in the medical career path.

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“Hamilton prepares you for the rigors of medical school,” Knohl noted. In fact, he believes that his transition from high school to Hamilton was more challenging than his transition to medical school. Courses that Knohl took at Hamilton, particularly those related to physiology, helped him eventually decide on a specialty in nephrology.

Success in the medical field, as Knohl learned firsthand, requires finding a program or area with the right personality for you. He recommends shadowing or volunteering with a doctor, an opportunity that he helps to facilitate with Hamilton’s summer program at Upstate Medical University and the shadowing programs at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Utica.

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