I recently had the chance to speak with Sylvie Stacy (Class of 07), Olin's first MD. For an Olin alumna, Sylvie has chosen a rather unorthodox path in achieving her childhood goal of becoming a doctor. For starters, she went to Olin, a brand new engineering school. Since then she has gone on to study at the University of Massachusetts and has completed most of her clinical internship year in upstate New York. Starting this June, she plans to enter a preventive medicine residency, which will focus on population-based health care through environmental and policy change.
Sylvie's unique career path has led to unusual choices. She knew she wanted to work in the medical field, but did not wish to go straight into pre-med or biology, and so, she looked into an engineering undergrad education. Excited by the prospect of a brand new and progressive engineering school, Sylvie decided on Olin as her choice for an undergraduate program, with a bioengineering concentration.
Sylvie says that attending Olin has greatly influenced what she is doing now and what she plans to do in the future. At the time, she had to work hard to meet all of her biology requirements, which included cross-registering at Wellesley and Brandeis. During her senior year, Sylvie participated on the Boston Scientific SCOPE (insert link here) medical design project team. This project showed her how much work goes into the design and development of medical tools and she realized that there must be a need for a person to act as the "middleman" between those who use the product and those who develop it. Olin opened her eyes to a role that was tangentially involved in both medicine and engineering. Sylvie fleshed out this role through her time at Olin and during her medical school training.
Starting in June, Sylvie plans on beginning her preventive medicine residency program. She hopes to work with food and drug administrations as a medical officer to learn how things are regulated. She will learn about population-based health care which, while largely a non-medical field, involves interactions with medical directors and other medical professionals to improve the overall health of individuals as well as greater populations. Sylvie's goal is to discover and analyze how medical products get onto the market, and ultimately to work for a medical or biotech company in the development of medical products.
While Sylvie has taken a bit of an unconventional route in her college career so far, she has enjoyed her journey and is glad she went to Olin. When she discovered that perhaps working directly with patients may not be for her, she utilized the initiative and exploration tools she learned at Olin to find the niche where she fit. Olin had always helped open her eyes to new ideas, opportunities, and careers.
What would Sylvie advise an Olin student today? If you come across someone you find yourself admiring or like their job, talk to them! Seek their advice, stay in touch and use them as a sort of mentor, or someone to turn to when you need a fresh perspective. You'll be glad you did, these relationships tend to pay off in spades!