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Off to Greece: LVC Biology Majors Complete Medical Internship

A pair of Lebanon Valley College biology majors complete medical internship in Greece.

When Austin Cassatt ’21 was little, he enjoyed playing board games, including the famous Operation by Milton Bradley. That early flame of a career interest in medicine fully ignited this summer when the LVC biology major observed a doctor perform emergency surgery on a premature baby. 

Cassatt witnessed the urgent operation as part of his internship with the Atlantis Project at Papageorgiou General Hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece.

“I already knew a lot of the medical terminology. However, I was not as well versed in the procedures,” he said. “While I was there, the doctors pulled me aside and explained all their medical practices. I hope to carry that with me for the rest of my life.”

Cassatt learned of the Atlantis Project through LVC graduate Ciara Marshall ’18 [now a second-year medical student at Penn State Hershey]. Cassatt and fellow biology student Christopher Miller ’21 applied for the internship and completed the program, which included 20 hours a week of shadowing doctors. Rotating through different units, they observed, took notes, and interacted with doctors and patients when the circumstances allowed. They also witnessed routine surgeries, including cataracts and knee replacements, from the operating room, as well as emergency procedures. 

“Even the patients appreciated what we were doing,” said Cassatt. “As we were addressing and testing a stroke victim, the patient told the students in the best English they could form, ‘Thank you for coming.’ While it was a small gesture, everyone in my group felt like they were making a difference.”

Cassatt and Miller credit their LVC professors for preparing them for this opportunity. Miller cited the general biology and medical terminology as two of the most helpful courses for providing a baseline of understanding in a foreign environment.

As Cassatt prepares to apply to medical school, he plans to use the experiences from the Atlantis internship to become the best medical professional that he can.

“This gave me a chance to discuss the differing cultural and medical identities of the world, opening up a door to a more interwoven community,” he said. “During my time there, I saw countless procedures, some of which I hope I can implement in my studies over the next few years. I want to work on creating a more interconnected culture, and starting with combining the best practices from all over the world is a step in the right direction.”

 

- Darby Seymour, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant