For Heather Whiting and Brandon Metcalf, medicine runs in the family.
Together, the husband-and-wife team attended Washington College and then went on to study medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Heather will earn her medical degree in 2013 and then pursue a career in pediatrics.
Before entering medical school, Heather worked as a lab tech at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, a hospital for children with developmental or physical disabilities. She was part of a team researching ways to prevent brain injuries in babies whose oxygen supply is cut off during delivery. She also spent some time there as a clinical research assistant in the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, examining ways to prevent osteoporosis in patients with spinal cord injury.
Heather felt well prepared for the rigors of medical school after Washington College, and says the small class sizes and personal attention helped her perform well in upper-level science courses.
Though she appreciates the strong academic base she built, Heather also values the experiences she had outside the classroom.
“I was a resident assistant, which taught me how to lead by example and be assertive without being overbearing,” she said.
She honed her interpersonal skills as a peer tutor and a member of Best Buddies.
“Every person you meet is going to be different, and you have to be able to approach them each differently in order to give them the best help that you can offer,” she said.
Being involved in various activities on campus, rather than only focusing on her academic workload, was important to Heather.
“If you plan to go to medical school, so much of your time is consumed by it. You need to get involved and develop other interests and hobbies and take classes outside of your major to have a well-balanced and happy life,” she said.