Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

W&L Outcomes: Pari Ahmadi ’24 Pari Ahmadi ’24 will be working as a clinical research coordinator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before attending medical school.

Pari-Ahmadi-scaled-600x400 W&L Outcomes: Pari Ahmadi ’24

Pari Ahmadi ’24
Major: Biology
Hometown: Medfield, Massachusetts

Post-grad plans:
I will be returning home to Massachusetts to work at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a clinical research coordinator within the Lymphoma Group. I will work as a CRC for the next two years and then apply to and attend medical school through the Navy.

How did your career plans evolve throughout your time at W&L?
Since beginning at W&L, I knew I wanted to be a biology major on the pre-medical track. I had always had the hope of attending medical school following my graduation, but once I reached senior year, I knew I wanted to take a year or two off to explore other medical avenues before applying. It wasn’t until my senior winter semester that I realized all the different opportunities I could explore after graduation. After doing a summer of research with Dr. Bill Hamilton I knew I would love to explore the research field further and see if that was something I would enjoy.

What internships or other summer experiences did you partake in and how did those experiences shape you and your career plans?
The summer in between my sophomore and junior year, I worked in Dr. Hamilton’s lab. We mainly focused on the effect of bison grazing on the arthropod density within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This experience definitely opened me up to the field of academic research and allowed me the opportunity to see if this was something I would want to pursue in my future. The following summer, I shadowed a pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. This was an amazing experience because it allowed me to see the behind the scenes of a physician’s life on a daily basis. Working with Dr. Sarah deFerranti and seeing her interactions with other hospital staff and patients deepened my love for medicine.

How did the Office of Career and Professional Development support you, and which resources did you find most helpful?
Through my time at W&L, Dr. Lisa Alty was a huge motivation and support for me along the way. Checking in with her to make sure I was still on a path to be able to pursue medical school was very helpful, and I have so much gratitude for all her help. During my senior year, I was introduced to Brittany Carr within the Office of Career and Professional Development, and both Mrs. Carr and Dr. Alty helped me investigate different job opportunities post-graduation once I realized I wanted to take at least one gap year. Through many conversations, we found different W&L alumni to reach out to all located within the Boston area. As I live in Medfield, Massachusetts, it was pivotal to me that I return to the Boston area after college to remain close to my family.

What did you study at W&L, and what are some skills or learnings you will take from your academic experience into the professional world?
At W&L I was a biology major and a Middle East and South Asia studies minor. I loved pursing both of these paths, because it allowed me to take a wide variety of different courses here at school. The MESA minor granted me the time and opportunity to explore different topics relating to the Middle East, whether that be politics, religion or history. Having taken both science classes for my biology major and humanity classes for the MESA minor, it gave me a broad overview of so many different topics that I couldn’t have explored anywhere else!

What clubs, organizations, athletic teams or other extracurriculars were you involved in that had an impact on you?
I was on the women’s swim team here at W&L, which had a huge impact on my college experience. It introduced me to my first friends at school who remained with me through all four years. I was a member of the Campus Kitchen leadership team all four years of school, which gave me insight into the community in which W&L is located. It was nice to be connected with the Greater Rockbridge community and meet many different people through my time volunteering. Later in my career at W&L, I joined Kathekon and Remote Area Medical, which were great ways to stay involved and continue meeting new people and doing the things I love.

Who or what has inspired you along the way?
Along the way I was continually inspired by the hard work of my parents, who gave me the opportunity to come to such an amazing institution like W&L. My peers and professors were always motivating me and encouraging me to be the best possible version of myself and to keep trying even when things got tough.

Did you connect with alumni during your career development process?
Yes, I had the opportunity to be introduced via email to Dr. Austin Kim ’04, who is an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He told me about possible career opportunities to join the Dana-Farber community, and I will be forever grateful for his introduction, as I will be joining the Dana-Farber family upon my graduation!

What career-related advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
My biggest piece of advice would be that it’s OK if reaching your goal or your ideal career path takes a little longer than you had expected — sometimes things change! Also, never feel discouraged; sometimes it is hard to keep going, but in the end all that hard work pays off. Don’t be afraid to lean on family, friends and advisers, as that has been something that has helped me tremendously. I went into college wanting to attend medical school immediately after, and I am so happy with my decision to return home for the next couple of years to pursue a CRC position and attend medical school following that.

If you know any W&L alumni who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.