Mar 15, 2022 / Research & Innovation

Advice for Future Medical Students from a Future Orthopedic Surgeon

Medical director of clinical research Henry B. Ellis, M.D., checked in with a former employee, K. John Wagner, B.S., at a recent medical conference. He asked Wagner a few questions about his experience at Scottish Rite.

Ellis: Tell us about how your experience working on our clinical research team helped you prepare for applying to and succeeding in medical school.

Wagner: Conducting clinical research at Scottish Rite for Children was the perfect opportunity to set me up for success when applying to medical school. Many medical schools look for clinical and research experience, and this position offers both. Throughout my two years at Scottish Rite, I spent time enrolling patients in clinic, writing and designing study protocols, and even developing my own projects. I built strong relationships with the medical staff and other research leaders. Through their mentorship, I was able to publish multiple papers, get my name on many abstracts and even present some of our work on the national stage. This is the ideal position for any student hoping to bolster their resume and/or medical school application, develop strong, lasting mentor relationships, and gain valuable exposure to medicine, clinical research and the field of orthopedics.

Ellis: Because of strong candidates like yourself, we are creating a program to allow more pre-med students an opportunity to learn about clinical research and contribute to new and ongoing projects at Scottish Rite for Children. What advice do you have for future medical students?

Wagner: My advice for people interested in this role and using it to strengthen a future application would be to dive in headfirst. This type of opportunity allows you to get out what you are willing to put in. Seek out opportunities to become involved, do not be afraid to pitch your own ideas and make sure to take full advantage of working with some of the most renowned people in orthopedic research. To this day, the relationships I developed at Scottish Rite are helping me towards my goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. The Scottish Rite name carries serious weight, and I still see productivity through publications being generated from work in which I was involved while I was there. I cannot recommend this position highly enough to future medical school applicants, and I encourage you to apply and give this position your all. Best of luck!

Ellis says, “I worked closely with John on several projects with our sports medicine research team at Scottish Rite for Children. His contributions go well beyond the six publications on which he is included as an author.”
Wagner is currently in a prestigious dual-credit program at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, where he will finish M.D. and M.B.A. degrees in 2024.

If you are aspiring to go to medical school, learn more and apply to be a clinical orthopedic research assistant on our careers page.

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