Ankur Patel (Class of 2012)

photo of Ankur Patel

  • senior triple major in Biochemistry, Economics, and Zoology
  • from Medina, OH
  • serves on Honors Student Advisory Board
"My experience at Miami has helped me convince myself, as well as medical schools, that I am ready to embark on the path towards becoming a physician."

Update: June 2014

"I'm about to begin my 3rd year as a medical student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Between entering the professional world, meeting new people, and studying all day, I've had a whirlwind time so far. My most significant experiences have come in free clinics and shadowing physicians, where I see patients and practice the medicine I learn in class.

"During my first 2 years, I've also been involved in researching the benefits of radiation therapy in treating cancer of the esophagus. Through my work, I hope to impact the way medicine approaches cancer treatment in general and esophageal cancer in particular. While I have yet to choose the medical specialty I will pursue as a career, my research and shadowing in oncology has been the most interesting and satisfying.

"During my next 2 years, I will be seeing patients in the hospital and coming up with diagnoses and treatment plans. This next phase of medical school will be more challenging and daunting than anything I've ever seen. I really have my Miami experience to thank for preparing me to handle whatever is thrown my way and to meet the expectations placed on me to succeed."

Original Conversation: December 2011

Pursuing Biology and Economics

"I arrived at Miami in 2008 as a pre-medical student with a variety of academic passions. In addition to interests in chemistry and biology as they relate to medicine, I am intrigued by ideas in economics. After taking an introductory course in microeconomics, I was encouraged by advisors and professors to also purse an economics major.

"At first, I was leery of adding to my already hectic life as a pre-med. However, with planning and plenty of hard work, I was able to feed my interest in economics without making sacrifices in my pre-med curriculum. Thanks to my training in economics, I am better able to understand the dynamics of today's global economy and how they affect the volatile U.S. healthcare industry."

Experiences in Medicine

Ankur Patel and surgical team

"One of the most important things a pre-med can do is gain exposure to the medical environment to see if a career in medicine is the right fit. Through opportunities provided by Miami and the Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education, I was able to confirm my interest in pursuing a career as a physician.

"The preceptorship program set me up with a medical practice near my home, where I spent over 40 hours with a family physician as part of a rigorous shadowing experience. I was able to observe the daily life of a primary care physician, and the interactions I had with patients left me excited to pursue medicine.

"Through the Mallory-Wilson Center, I also observed autopsies at a local morgue. Seeing the human anatomy verified a lot of what I had learned in class. Overcoming the initial shock of seeing a corpse was an important experience for me, and my time at the morgue further confirmed my interest in medicine."

Medical Mission to Nicaragua

Ankur Patel in Nicaraguan operating room

"In the fall semester of my senior year, I was given the unique opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with a team of over 30 healthcare providers as part of a medical mission. My trip was sponsored through the generosity of Dr. James Bertz, a maxillofacial surgeon and Miami alumnus, and his foundation, Medical Hands for Healing.

"I spent 10 days in Nicaragua with surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and translators. The surgeons treated over 40 patients in a small hospital in rural Rivas; I observed many of those surgeries standing next to the surgeons at the operating table. I also helped with instrument sterilization and translating.

"This experience reminded me of the true benefits of a career in medicine—the feeling of satisfaction that comes with easing others' pain. Observing the humanitarian aspects of medicine inspired me to continue pursuing medicine and to participate in future mission trips as a practicing physician."

The Pre-Med Life

"My experience at Miami has been about seizing numerous and diverse opportunities to follow my passions and learn more about myself. That said, my four years have been extremely busy, yet fun and rewarding. From late nights studying to traveling the globe, I've become a more knowledgeable and cultured world citizen.

"In regards to being pre-med, the one thing I would have liked to know as a first-year is how extremely competitive the medical school admissions process is. My experience at Miami has helped me convince myself, as well as medical schools, that I am ready to embark on the path towards becoming a physician."

[December 2011]