SCSD Graduates Pursue Medical Careers at Upstate College of Medicine

     Published on 9/9/15   Tagged under:    District News   

Birx Allen (Corcoran ’08), Julio Chanelo (Corcoran ’08) and George Thatvihane (Fowler ’09, pictured left, with his mother) are making history at Upstate Medical University, where staff said the trio is the first group of three SCSD graduates to enter a College of Medicine class! The SCSD alumni will be graduating in Upstate’s Class of 2019 with their Doctor of Medicine degrees.
George, who gave the commencement address at Fowler’s graduation in May, obtained his Masters in Public Health from Upstate after graduating from Syracuse University in 2013. He said his goal is to keep working to improve the community he has been immersed in for so long. “When I graduate, I hope to practice medicine within the inner city of Syracuse, to give back to the community I grew up in,” he explained.
For Birx, her interest in healthcare also stems from her upbringing. “Growing up in the city of Syracuse exposed me to the immense need for quality, accessible healthcare right in our communities,” she explained. “As a future physician, I hope to address some of the healthcare needs specific to Syracuse, such as the need for preventative medicine. I want to give back to the city I grew up in!”
Julio said he has always had an interest in science and community service, so working in the field of medicine was a natural fit. “I was drawn to medicine when I realized I could blend both of those passions into a career,” he explained. “I hope to work in pediatrics, but I am very open to the other specialties I’ll experience throughout my time in medical school!”
All three medical students attribute their time in the SCSD to their success in continued education.
Birx insisted that Corcoran’s International Baccalaureate program was key, helping her learn valuable skills and making her eligible for scholarships that opened the doors to her attending the University of Rochester, where she earned Bachelor’s degrees in Cell & Developmental Biology and Religion. “The SCSD prepared me to be successful in college by helping me to develop solid study techniques and a foundation for learning,” she said. “Even as a medical student, I still find myself making study guides and outlines the way some of my teachers at Corcoran taught me years ago.”
Classmate Julio agreed. “I found the IB program immensely helpful,” he said. “The rigor provided a strong foundation for my studies in college, which ultimately enabled me to succeed. Succeeding in college was instrumental in getting into medical school.”
For George, his appreciation for the SCSD is more basic. “The SCSD gifted me a realistic perspective on learning,” he said. “No matter what the level of resources around a student, learning begins and ends with the student. The SCSD teachers and staff are tremendous and genuinely care about their students.”
With a few years left until she becomes a practicing doctor, Birx said there is one thing that will always stick with her from her education in the SCSD. “The diversity in the Syracuse City School District taught me that every individual has a unique background,” she explained. “You can’t begin to help or guide another person until you listen to their story and try to understand their specific needs. That is a lesson I will carry with me throughout my medical career.”