Less than a year ago, Sunny Khatter walked across the stage at OUWB’s 2019 White Coat Ceremony, about to begin his first year of medical school.

Today, he’s not only a rising M2, but the newly elected president of OUWB’s Medical Student Government Executive Board, and helping pre-med students across the nation prepare for what they hope will be their shot at taking part in a similar White Coat Ceremony.

President of OUWB’s Medical Student Government Executive Board offers advice for pre-med students
An image of OUWB Class of 2023 member Sunny Khatter at the 8th Annual Chandler Park Health Fair.
Rising M2 Sunny Khatter, the newly elected president of OUWB’s Medical Student Government Executive Board, took part in a seminar last week helping pre-med students across the nation prepare for applying to medical school. Here, Khatter takes part in the 8th Annual Chandler Park Health Fair earlier this year.

Less than a year ago, Sunny Khatter walked across the stage at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s 2019 White Coat Ceremony, about to begin his first year of medical school.

Today, he’s not only a rising M2, but the newly elected president of OUWB’s Medical Student Government Executive Board, and helping pre-med students across the nation prepare for what they hope will be their shot at taking part in a similar White Coat Ceremony.

Last week, Khatter was among five panelists in “Navigating Pre-Med & Applying to Medical School,” a webinar hosted by the group Young, Gifted, and Non-Dominant.  Other panelists were from Duke University, Columbia University, and Wright State University.

Young Gifted, and Non-Dominant (YG&N) is an online publication that seeks to connect diversity opportunities in business, finance, government/public policy, social justice, academia, STEM, and other fields to undergraduate students of color in one comprehensive booklet. It also produces podcasts and webinars like the one Khatter took part in.

“As YG&N strives to promote awareness and diversity across industries that historically lack sufficient representation of minorities, I resonate with this message and want to have an active role in providing opportunities and resources for communities who are underrepresented in the field of medicine,” said Khatter.

Khatter earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from University of Denver, studying molecular biology with minors in cognitive neuroscience, chemistry, leadership, and psychology.

While studying biology, he conducted ALS research, analyzing different neuroprotective compounds.

After Denver, Khatter worked in the pharmaceutical industry, which is where he met the founder of YG&N, Aku Acquaye.

Khatter said Acquaye reached out to him to participate in the panel.

“It was exciting to see such a great turnout with an enthusiastic group, prepared with well thought out questions,” said Khatter.

“There is a clear need for more medical students to reach out and advise pre-medical students on the path to medical school, especially given the current uncertainty due to COVID. I hope to see more free advising sessions like this one.”

Below are some of the questions that were asked and portions of Khatter’s responses:

When it comes to preparing a strong application for medical school, are there a specific set of courses that students are going to need to take, are a good learning experience, and/or help prepare for the MCAT?

Khatter: Everything you do should be crafting your story. So yes, you’re going to need to take all the…credits that are required, but what about you crafts your story about why you’re going to go into medicine and that’s not always seen from ‘I’m really interested in biology and physiology?’ For me, it was …kind of more a humanities thing. I care a lot about leadership in medicine and systems of medicine so I took a lot of business classes, did my MBA, and minored in leadership studies because that’s what was more important for my story.

Related:

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What advice would you give for those trying to attain some undergrad research experience?

Khatter: I went to University of Denver and we didn’t have a very formal procedure for getting into it and you had to seek it out yourself. I feel like that’s the name of the game throughout institutions. You have to be self-motivated to do it. Go on your school’s website, see whatever department you’re interested in…and then see how you can get involved. Find a teacher, see what they’re working on…say “Hey…I’m really interested in this as a career path. This is why it would be great for me to join your lab. Here’s what I can offer. Here’s what I’d like to do.” You just have to cold call or cold email and eventually that’ll help.

How long did you study for MCATs? What advice would you give students who are about to start that process?

An image of a panel featuring OUWB student Sunny KhatterKhatter: Everybody has a different test-taking strategy. You could be studying for three weeks or four months. I was somewhere in between. The only advice is don’t let the MCAT be the reason you don’t go to med school. A lot of friends I have were like ‘It didn’t go well the first time. I don’t want to do that 8-hour thing again. I’m just going to stop now.’ Just allow yourself a couple of opportunities to go through it. It’s a challenge. If you’ve been working hard for it for three or four years, just go after it and don’t let anything get in the way.

The last question dealt with the medical school application process. Khatter shared his thoughts on the kind of information to include when applying/writing essays, stressing the importance of crafting “your story.”

Khatter: A lot of people do a great job (in applications) of saying ‘I want to be a doctor, I want to help people. These are my experiences.’ You have to say you want to help people 1,000 different times in the app and a different way each time. My pre-med adviser gave me this exercise before I applied. Write out 50 reasons why you want to be a doctor. Take the first 10 as low hanging fruit.  For the next 40, if you can write up the reason /the substance behind those, it’ll make the writing process a lot easier. It will allow you to tell your story better. Everybody has  a unique story and you just have to search for yours. And when you’re telling it, you just really need to bring in that reader in the beginning and in the end, just drop the (microphone).

To watch a recorded version of the webinar — which includes input from the other participants — visit https://my.demio.com/recording/ID3qaF1Z.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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