Student Spotlight: The pre-med experience at UMaine

Why attend UMaine when considering medical school? Christian Crane, MS student in Biomedical Engineering, answers a few questions about his experience at UMaine, the resources available on campus, the faculty members and others who guided him through the pre-med curriculum and the research he conducted in Biomedical Engineering.

  • What led you to UMaine? I grew up in Linneus, Maine a small town outside of Houlton. As a high school student, I always enjoyed science, math, and social interactions that led me toward engineering and medicine being two of many potential career paths. I started at UMaine in fall 2015 as an undeclared engineering student quickly stepping into chemical engineering as my major. I added pre-medical studies as a minor my junior year due to many experiences in my life at the time both family oriented and work/shadowing. I decided to pursue medicine largely after working at Eastern Maine Medical Center for two years as an anesthesia technician.
    UMaine was my choice of college initially because it was a large school in Maine with many opportunities and a well-known engineering program. I also made sure that there was a track for pre-med students to receive a concentration or minor before enrolling at UMaine. Being from Maine there were many logistical benefits ranging from nearby family and a familiar environment.
  • Are you using resources from the Health Professions office? Some of the best resources I’ve made use of from the Health Professions office are MCAT prep tips, practice test websites, medical school interactions via meeting with medical school recruiters. In person meetings for hands on experience such as basic suturing was also wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone with the opportunity.
  • Have you or are you planning to complete internships or do research? Have you received fellowships or grants to support you in those activities? I am currently in graduate school pursuing a masters in biomedical engineering allowing me to gain valuable research experience. I have also in the past worked with FBRI (forest bioproducts research institute) as a research assistant part time. I have received a UMaine CUGR grant for my research in biomedical engineering in addition to having two grants being funded where I am a co-author.
  • Would you like to recognize one or more faculty members, advisors, lab or administrative staff for their help? I do have several faculty members who had great impact on my education and pursuit of career. William Desisto (Department of Chemical/Biomedical Engineering) was my undergraduate advisor for chemical engineering who encouraged me to pursue a career in something I truly cared about and helped me along the way. Robert Bowie MD (Department of Chemical/Biomedical Engineering) is a professor of practice who encouraged me to reach out for additional experiences wherever possible to learn and understand more about medicine. Karissa Tilbury (Department of Chemical/Biomedical Engineering) is my graduate advisor who gave me freedom to research topics that appealed to my desire to help others. Her flexibility allowed me to focus on research for application and advancement of technology that may help patients in a clinical setting. Samantha Wheeler (Health Professions Office) was a guiding hand toward applying to medical school in many aspects. She helped keep my timeline in check, MCAT preparation, medical experiences, and guidance/recommendations for medical school applications.
  • Are you planning to apply to med school right after graduation? Are you considering the  Maine Track Early Assurance?  I recently submitted my application to medical school with the hope of receiving my masters degree in biomedical engineering in the coming year (my second year) and continuing in the fall to medical school. I would have loved applying for Maine Track Early Assurance but because of my degree in chemical engineering and delayed minor in pre-medical studies I was ineligible. I intent on returning to Maine as a physician and would love to participate in a program like Maine Track.

When asked where he could see himself starting his career, Christian answered he would definitely consider a rural medicine setting, especially one of many underserved areas in the state of Maine where physicians can make a substantial impact on the community.