Medical students at the Specialty Fair.

Medical students visit the different department and program tables at the Specialty Fair in the second floor atrium of the Jacobs School building.

Specialty Fair Opens Eyes to Possible Future Paths

By Dirk Hoffman

Published September 28, 2023

The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences hosted a networking event Sept. 20 for all medical students.


Co-sponsored by the Offices of Medical Education (OME) and the Medical Alumni Association, the specialty fair gave students a chance to meet and talk to different physicians from different specialties and to become more familiar with department chairs and program directors.

Event Created in Response to Request From Students

The event was spurred by feedback OME received from students about wanting more exposure to learning about specialties, according to Julie Szrama, student and academics affairs coordinator for OME.

”We had 52 faculty members representing 22 specialties and we also had representatives from the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy,” she says. “About 180 students attended. It was a really great event. We have received a lot of great feedback from students and faculty.”

Szrama notes the Medical Alumni Association invited alumni to be present and share their experiences as well at the event that took place on the first and second-floor atriums of the Jacobs School building. She says future plans are to offer the specialty fair each fall semester.

The specialties represented were: addiction medicine, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, global health and community medicine, medicine (internal medicine), med-peds, neurosurgery, neurology, nuclear medicine, OB-GYN, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, pathology, pediatrics, primary care sports medicine, public health, psychiatry, radiation oncology, radiology, surgery, and urology.

K. Keely Boyle, MD, talks to students.

K. Keely Boyle, MD, talks to students at the Department of Orthopaedics table at the Specialty Fair.

Gleaning Information and Making Contacts

First-year medical student Nechelle Dias says she was specifically interested in the med-peds specialty, so she was excited to talk to the representatives at that table. 

“Many doctors I met with were more than willing to offer their email and talk more about shadowing and research,” she says.

Gloria Opuni, another first-year medical student, says “it was refreshing to see and think about what my future could look like.”

“I was mostly looking for information about the pros and cons of the specialties I was interested in,” she says. “I was also looking for role models who I could potentially shadow to get a better insight into the field I was looking for.”

Fellow first-year medical student Parveen Attai says she already has some ideas about the routes she may want to pursue, and wanted to obtain more information and ask questions about her current specialties of interest.

“I was interested in learning more about training length and requirements, considerations for work/life balance, and the realities of working with different patient populations.”

“I understand that I have a significant amount of time until I choose my specialty, but the event planted a seed,” Attai says. “I will continue to explore different specialties over the next few years, because it will allow the freedom of planning ahead as I hone in on my passion.”