Ever wanted to interview a Sketchy doctor? Now’s your chance! In honor of National Doctor’s Day, we’re shining a spotlight on our past students. Learn about their path to becoming a physician, their advice for current students, and how Sketchy supported them along the way.

Meaghan Foster, MD
Family Medicine 
Jasmine D. Thompson, MD 
Emergency Medicine
Austin E. Carmack, MD
General Surgery 
Alessandra Petrillo, MD
Internal Medicine 
Future Plans: Heme/Onc Fellowship
Arjan Ahluwalia, MD
Internal Medicine 
Future Plans: GI Fellowship

Q: Tell us about your path to medicine. How did you choose your specialty? 

Austin: I always wanted to do something operative from a young age. I had a head injury as a toddler, so I was in and out of hospitals. The medical field saved my life. Initially, I thought about Ophthalmology, but by the end of my surgical rotation, I knew I wanted to be in the operating room as much as possible.  

Meaghan: I’ve always wanted to be a primary care doctor. I looked up to my own pediatrician growing up and I loved the idea of knowing someone over a long period of time and seeing them change. What really pushed me to do Family Medicine as opposed to Pediatrics or Internal Medicine was knowing that you get a little bit of everything. I think culture is also a big part of it. Each specialty attracts like-minded people, and Family Medicine is a very warm and casual culture, which I appreciate. 

Arjan: I enjoyed almost all of my rotations, from Surgery, to Ob/Gyn, to Pediatrics, but nothing really stood out as my calling. Internal Medicine allows you to keep your options open. That kind of diversity and flexibility is what drove me to IM. In regards to GI, I like the endoscopic side. The fact that you can get an answer by doing a procedure. That’s not always afforded in medicine. 

Jasmine: I always knew I wanted to do science. I was the nerdy kid with the toy microscope looking at bugs. But medicine became my focus in high school because one of my nephews had a medical emergency and I got to spend a lot of time in the hospital. That got me interested and it stuck with me throughout the years. I initially started med school thinking I wanted to do Surgery. But when I did my rotations, it wasn’t the right fit for me. I liked so many things in my rotations and realized that Emergency Medicine let me do all of them, so it was perfect. 

Alessandra: I chose Internal Medicine because it is broad and gives you the ability to explore different fields and figure out what you want to sub-specialize in. IM was the gateway to Heme/Onc for me. In clinicals, I was exposed to these Hematology/Oncology patients who had very rare things that you really don’t see often. When I was seeing these patients, I tied in what I learned through Pathoma and Sketchy Pharm, and became really interested in their underlying diseases. 

Q: What qualities should a prospective doctor possess? 

Arjan: Compassion. Knowing that everything you do is for a patient. All the studying and stuff one day will apply to a real, living person. Find your niche. Where is the right hospital, what rotation is for you, what resources are for you. Leadership. Even if pursuing a leadership role isn’t something natural or native to your personality, it will still serve you well in the future. 

Meaghan: Desire. I am really of the belief that if you work hard enough, you can do it. I had a lot of people tell me that maybe pre-med wasn’t for me, or that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but I just was really persistent. I think if it’s something you really want to do, and if you’re going into it for the right reasons, you can do it.

Jasmine: Perseverance. You have to be willing to stick through it. Honesty. It’s important and sometimes underrated. There’s pressure to be perfect and always right in medical school and residency. Being honest shows people what you need help with and builds trust between you and your attending and patients. Adaptable. Every field of medicine has its own surprises. As a med student who goes through everything, you have to be flexible and quick on your feet. You have to be able to fill in gaps whenever you can. 

Q: How has Sketchy supported your medical journey? 

Meaghan: Sketchy completely changed how I got through Infectious Disease, how I still think about antibiotics, how I’m still able to keep different things straight in my head. It really created a framework for how I could remember things easily. To this day, I think back to Sketchy images to remind me quickly of different aspects of infections.

Alessandra: Sketchy has been with me since the very beginning. My husband and I would watch it every night instead of TV shows and this became our source of entertainment and learning. It came to a point where I relied on Sketchy to pass my exams. It’s such a great resource that no matter where you are in the medical field, you can always come back to it and relearn very quickly. To have a resource like that is just incredible. To all the designers and everybody who created this program, it’s just the most brilliant thing. I love it!

Jasmine: It helped solidify a lot of microorganisms. I’m a visual person so when I learned about Sketchy, I thought it was made for me. Even now during residency, sometimes I think about what antibiotics to choose for someone and I picture the little drawings from Sketchy. 

Austin: Sketchy was essential for learning Pharmacology and Microbiology. I still reference my mental images in clinical practice.

Q: What advice do you have for current Sketchy students? 

Arjan: Just trust the process. It seems so overwhelming in the moment—that there’s such an infinite amount of knowledge that needs to be learned, or studied, or memorized—but it is very doable. By finding the right people, the right place, and the right resources, it can easily be accomplished. At the time it’s very overwhelming, but in hindsight you realize that it’s all part of this bigger journey. 

Austin: Exposure is so important. If you think you’re interested in something, reach out to a preceptor or mentor in that field and try to get immersed in it. 

Meaghan: Focus on what works for you and try not to compare yourself to what others are doing. There is this incredible pressure to think, “someone is using this particular resource to study,” or “they are doing x number of flashcards per day,” and that can be really intimidating. It can create a toxic environment. You just need to figure out what your learning style is, and know that it might change as you move through med school, and that’s okay. Be flexible and patient with yourself. 

Jasmine: Lean on the people around you. Let people know what’s going on. Tell them because they are willing to help more than you know. 

Alessandra: Be persistent. Always continue learning. Even in residency, going back to the basics like Micro, Pharm, and Pathology is going to make you a better doctor—and being a better doctor means your patients are getting better care.

We hope these success stories inspire our current students to dream big and accomplish their goals! Stay tuned for more from our Sketchy Doctors, including a can’t-miss resident webinar, coming soon! Join us on Discord to stay in-the-know on all our upcoming events. 

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