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Park Scholars explore medicine at ECU

By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

Pooja Sarin and Stuart Bumgarner, shown in the robotic training center of the Warren Life Sciences Building, are two N.C. State University Park Scholars participating in an internship at the Brody School of Medicine this summer. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (July 5, 2012)   —   Physicians at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University have been showing the medical ropes to three top scholars from a sister state university.

Sophie Austin, Pooja Sarin and Stuart Bumgarner, Park Scholars at N.C. State University, have participated in a multi-week internship involving the Park Scholarship program and the pediatrics and cardiovascular sciences departments at ECU.

Sarin, 21, a rising senior, is the daughter of Sanjiv and Ratna Sarin of Greensboro. She is majoring in biomedical engineering. She is a graduate of Western Guilford High School. Bumgarner, 20, a rising junior, is majoring in zoology. Both have been interning with the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at ECU. There, they have gotten to practice on the robotic da Vinci Surgical System, view heart surgeries in the operating room and have been compiling videos of robot-assisted heart surgeries.

"I would say definitely the highlight for me was seeing the mitral valve repair," Sarin said. "I've loved watching the da Vinci, coming from an engineering background.

"But the most interesting part has been watching Dr. (W. Randolph) Chitwood interact with patients," she said. "He's so good with patients, and they love him. We always leave laughing."

"He tries to bring humor into it," Bumgarner said of Chitwood, a professor and director of the East Carolina Heart Institute. "It makes them more comfortable with him and trust him more."

Both said the experience has been worthwhile.

"We've not only gotten to learn a lot about the surgical side," Bumgarner said, "we've gotten to learn about the other fields of medicine" such as cardiology and anesthesiology.

"It's been pretty eye-opening," Sarin said. Their internship ends July 13.

Austin, 19, is a rising junior at N.C. State. She is the daughter of Lisa Austin of Eden, is majoring in biology and plans to enter medical school after graduation. From late May until June 22, she shadowed ECU pediatric faculty members, residents and medical students.

During her final week at ECU, Austin said she had seen a wide variety of patients and procedures, including pediatric cardiac catheterizations. She said she learned a lot about medicine and about ECU.

"All the medical students I talked to really like it here, so I'm definitely applying here for medical school," she said.

Austin, whose late father was a physician, is a graduate of John Motley Morehead High School in Eden.

While at ECU, Austin and Bumgarner lived at College Hill Suites on campus. Sarin subleased an apartment.

The Park Scholarship is N.C. State's top scholarship program. It provides tuition, fees, room, board and more for four years at N.C. State.

ECU has worked with the Park Scholarship program for approximately six years to provide the internship. One former Park intern, Lacey Martin,  just completed her first year of medical school at ECU.

"Brody School of Medicine was not high on my list of choices before the internship," Martin said in an email. "After getting to know the high quality of care and excellent standards of many people associated with the hospital and Brody, it became one of my first choices. I am enjoying my time at Brody so far. I cannot imagine attending any other medical school."

At ECU, the program is led by Dr. Wiley Nifong of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Dr. Dale Newton of the Department of Pediatrics. Both are N.C. State graduates.

"They come in with fresh minds, and it makes the workday really interesting," Nifong said of the interns.

Park Scholar Sophie Austin, left, listens as Dr. Jennifer Crotty explains medical information at the ECU Pediatric Outpatient Center. Photo by  Doug Boyd
Park Scholar Sophie Austin, left, listens as Dr. Jennifer Crotty explains medical information at the ECU Pediatric Outpatient Center. Photo by Doug Boyd


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2482