Thursday, October 22, 2015

This year, the GEMS program is proud to introduce a new feature: the GEMS Alumni Spotlight Blog.  

We are proud to highlight our first alumnus, Dr. Chris Mescia. Dr. Mescia is a General Pediatrician and one of the owners of Nassim, McMonigle, & Mescia, a Pediatric and Adolescent Medical Office.  Dr. Mescia joined the established practice Dr. Cynthia Nassim started and has watched his practice transform into a leader that is constantly expanding, more than doubling in size since.  

  Dr. Mescia was chosen for the inaugural GEMS Class of 1988 and graduated UofL with a degree in Biology in 1992. He chose to stay here in ‘Possibility City’ for Medical School as the Class of 1996. After medical school, he moved to Dayton, Ohio to complete his residency in pediatrics at Wright State University. He has partnered with the GEMS Program ever since returning in 1999, as third year GEMS students shadow Dr. Mescia to gain a better insight into pediatric medicine.  

 Looking back, much like other children, Dr. Mescia did not always dream of being a physician. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a paleontologist and then a veterinarian before realizing that he wanted to become a physician. However he never gave up this interest in paleontology and the history of the Earth. While shadowing Dr. Mescia last month, I witnessed him interact on a personal level with one child on how much they both liked collecting shark’s teeth and learning about the mother of all sharks: the ancient megalodon. Patient care is the central focus of his office.  

 With this being said, Dr. Mescia did not always know that he wanted to do pediatrics. As a first year medical student he thought pediatrics was just “screaming babies and neurotic parents.” However, during his third year rotation, he quickly realized that this was not the case. Today, he loves the patient interaction and the spontaneity of his career, “each time I open the exam room door it is always something new,” he stated.   

 GEMS was quite different in 1988 however its focus has always been the same. GEMS offered Dr. Mescia the “freedom to learn everything else besides medicine. It offers the ability to allow students to branch out and explore other subjects that spark an interest.” GEMS allowed Dr. Mescia the ability to take classes without the worry of keeping a perfect GPA. The classes the he remembers today are not the biology or chemistry courses but are courses like Russian Literature or the Sociology of Murder which GEMS gave him the freedom to take.  He stated that courses like these are “what stuck with me more than the Kreb’s Cycle.”

 When asked what advice he would give to students thinking of applying to the program, he urges them to apply because it gives you the freedom to learn about topics that interest you because once you begin medical school, your focus “becomes only the learning of medicine.”  In general, Dr. Mescia advises that all undergraduates pick a major that they enjoy not one that they think is expected of them.  He also encourages “picking up a non-student related hobby,” to de-stress and remind us that we must schedule time to not be a student.  

 We like to thank Dr. Mescia for all he has done for the GEMS Program and are honored to highlight him as our first Alumni Spotlight.  

Charles Shofner
University of Louisville
GEMS Scholar