Working toward a career in oncology was an easy decision for second-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine student Jordan Hochstetler.
After losing his mother and grandfather to cancer, Hochstetler has since dedicated his training and future career in medicine to those plagued by the disease.
Hochstetler, a first-generation college student from South Bend, Indiana, shares, “I’ve always been really interested in the sciences and have always longed for a deeper understanding of why things work the way they do.”
It’s the hope that oncologists provide that leads Hochstetler to believe that oncology is the specialty for him.
“I think oncologists have a really unique opportunity that not every physician gets to experience, and that’s being able to essentially treat and cure what used to be a very horrible, terminally ill diagnosis. Oncologists have the opportunity to grant more life while trying to get rid of the diagnosis. More than anything, though, what is so important about that field is that you’re not only giving that person more life; you’re also giving their family the opportunity to spend more time with their loved one,” he says.
Leading at NEOMED
Hochstetler’s sense of curiosity and passion for those battling cancer led him to become the president of NEOMED’s Oncology Interest Group.
He explains that the student organization’s goal is to create an environment that offers students exposure and insight into the field of oncology early in their training.
One activity Hochstetler is especially proud of is the Oncology Interest Group’s Buddy Program with Akron Children’s Hospital.
Under two Akron Children’s Hospital advisers, student volunteers from NEOMED’s College of Medicine are paired up with chronically ill children from Akron Children’s Hospital. The big buddy (NEOMED student) and little buddy (Akron Children’s Hospital patient) then get to spend the year together, forming friendships and participating in fun activities, like roller skating and going to arcades.
“What I really appreciate about this program is that everybody who gets paired with their buddy, they have the ability and the freedom to do events that the little buddy wants to do. On top of that, it gives NEOMED students a really great opportunity to learn what it’s like to help with chronic care and get a better understanding of what these families go through,” says Hochstetler.
Extracurricular programs like the Buddy Program inspire Hochstetler.
“I think these groups and programs are important, because it’s very easy for students to get bogged down in their daily tasks and responsibilities like what time do you have class, what materials you are studying, and so on. These kinds of programs are able to provide those tangible experiences – those reminders of why we are studying medicine. Those outside driving factors help motivate me to do well in school.”