St. Olaf College | News

New networking event aims to prepare students for medical careers

Tom Nelson ’69 (left) talks with Matt Cosgriff ’11 at the Ole Biz event held October 29. A similar event for students and alumni interested and involved in medicine, Ole Med, will be held for the first time November 14.

This Thursday 140 St. Olaf College students interested in medicine will gather at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis to meet with nearly 70 alumni physicians.

The goal of the new event, dubbed Ole Med, is to enable students to hear directly from alumni the many ways a liberal arts degree can translate into a career. Led by Mill City Clinic founder Jon Hallberg ’88, the program will feature a wide array of “pop-up speakers” — from a pediatric oncologist to a neurosurgeon to a family practitioner — who will speak for two minutes about their life in medicine.

Ole Med will be modeled on two similar programs, Ole Law and Ole Biz, that have been started over the past several years by Lynn Anderson ’75 and Thomas Nelson ’69 with the support of the St. Olaf Piper Center for Vocation and Career.

“As we have all found, the opportunity to establish relationships with alumni mentors is of critical importance to current students discerning their career paths,” St. Olaf Associate Director of Career Education and Coaching for Pre-Health Sandra Malecha ’01 says.

Morgan Harden Langseth ’11 (center) takes part in a conversation at the recent Ole Biz event. The new Ole Med program will be modeled after Ole Biz and Ole Law.

The Ole Med program will add a networking element to the college’s successful Pre-Health Program. St. Olaf students already have access to experiential learning opportunities like the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, an internship program at Hennepin County Medical Center, and the Peruvian Medical Experience Interim, and the medical school acceptance rate for St. Olaf students is more than 20 percent higher than the national average.

Nelson says one of the most remarkable things about the networking events he’s helped create has been “the immediacy with which busy alumni professionals and business people from all over the country have literally jumped at the chance to pitch in and participate.”

Students attending Ole Med will hear from alumni about the importance of a liberal arts education and its ability to create a variety of career paths from the multitude of majors; the flexibility and creativity of finding one’s way through the maze of career opportunities; the helpfulness of networking; and the availability of alumni support for student career explorations.