Nathan Hammerschmitt Le Gal
One Email and "Breaking the Mold"
A Dartmouth Email inbox is an interesting creature. Sometimes it floods you with Canvas notifications about the next five assignments you don't want to think about, and other times it tries to sell you the twenty different events happening around campus. "Insert email title"—yeah you should attend this… but should I really?
My daily email checking ritual (more like bi-hourly) usually involves sorting through these emails. Though I like to say I *star* the important emails, I usually end up having a pile of semi-important, interesting campus events that I'm constantly considering. Sometimes it's a scientific seminar, sometimes it's a game night hosted by the Collis Student Center, and other times it's a really awesome alumni networking event.
One of those last options piqued my interest last week. The event was called "Breaking the Mold: A Conference for Careers for the Common Good." I would like to classify it as a "Sit down with a cool alumnus and have a great conversation with great food" event, but I'm afraid that might make too many people want to go next time. Anyways, the event focused on pursuing careers that center on making a tangible impact on society—an impact that can take many different shapes and forms. The dinner was actually hosted by the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact, which is an amazing resource that provides all students with the opportunities and mentorship to get involved in social impact related work (grants, programs, it's all here)
Before arriving at the event, I read through the small biographies of each guest; I was free to choose who I would have the privilege of sitting with, and connecting to, upon arriving. The conference was split into individual dinner tables, which fostered a close-knit atmosphere that reflected the sense of community in the room. My table, which I had a hard time choosing, hosted the one and only Dr. Dan Lucey.
The first thing Dr. Lucey did was greet us and learn all of our names as we introduced ourselves—he was more interested in learning about us than he was telling his story. His story, however, simply can't be captured in the remaining word count of this blog post. Dr. Lucey was a Dartmouth class of '77, graduated from Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, and went on to become an expert in the field of infectious diseases. His social impact comes from a less traditional path in medicine: Dr. Lucey has volunteered at dozens of outbreaks overseas such as Ebola, MERS 2013, SARS 2003, as well as HIV, H5N1, Zika, yellow Fever, and pneumonic plague. His career is an amazing display of humanitarian work. His path wasn't linear, though. We listened as he recounted dreams of originally pursuing physics, struggles in finding meaning, and traveling extensively for the sake of exploration (apparently you could buy a monthly train pass and jump from India to Greece, no problem).
Following our dinner and discussion, the Center for Social Impact also hosted a live interview with a board of more alumni. This part of the conference provided a few different ways to look at one's path in an impact-focused path. We got to hear from entrepreneurs trying to increase minority retention rates in college, tech innovators helping organizations scale their impact, and even sustainability advocates describing their conservation work. I was truly inspired by the work of alumni—quite happy with my email choice. I've learned how much of a difference one email can make. One event could change the trajectory of my path at Dartmouth. Maybe this conference has already altered my career, and I don't even know it (Wait, is that why I'm blogging about it?). Regardless, I'm still undecided, but now I know I can count on the Dartmouth community to support me in whatever path I take.
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