By Fahad Chowdhury, B.Eng, M.Eng, MD (Class of 2013)

Fahad completed both his B.Eng and M.Eng in the field of engineering sciences at the University of Toronto, where healso completed his medical education (Class of 2013). He is an Internal Medicine resident with subsequent training as an Infectious Disease fellow at the University of Ottawa (Class of 2018).

I didn’t always know that I wanted to pursue Medicine. In high school, I knew that I enjoyed math and physics, but I also enjoyed biology. Therefore, I started my educational journey at the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science program with the intent of specializing in Biomedical Engineering. Through my undergraduate studies, I encountered the fast-paced field of biomedical research, specifically stem cell research. It was an exciting field to be involved in, one that was both innovative and had profound implications towards the betterment of patient care.

It was during this time spent in research that I realized that I wanted to help people, but in a more direct manner through medicine. I wanted to interact with individuals one-on-one and face-to-face. Also, I wanted to see first-hand the impact made by the past, current, and future medical advances. This motivated me to apply to medical school.

Although my path to medicine has been somewhat indirect, I am grateful and appreciative of the lifelong skills and aptitudes gained through my engineering program. In engineering, I learned to understand the basics of our most benign and complicated processes, both biological and otherwise. I learned how to explain complex findings based on the foundational principles, and then further build on them. I applied these logical steps to various projects: from coding, building robots to understanding signaling pathways of a genetically modified cell line. In the same manner, I can comprehend the different ailments that afflict the human body. This has taught me to be logical and inquisitive.

Engineering also allowed me to build on vital personal traits, which are required of me on a daily basis as a medical resident. Before university, I was shy. Engineering forced me to participate in group projects and present complex ideas by speaking in lecture halls filled with my peers or by compiling written reports with a team. I have learned how to become a better collaborator and communicator.

Overall, I would say my path to medicine has been adventurous, and I have been grateful for all my unique experiences that have brought me this far. I look forward to experiencing more encounters through a vibrant and life-changing career in medicine. Therefore, for those of you who are worried about not having followed a “traditional” premedical training program, do not lose hope because you can always apply the skills you learned into the practice of medicine.

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