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Timothy Bober

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’12 English and Biology | Third-Year Internal Medicine Resident, UPMC Shadyside | Pittsburgh, PA
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Timothy Bober

Liberal Arts Major: English

Other Major: Biology (Vertebrate Physiology)

Hometown: Canonsburg, PA

Current Location: Pittsburgh, PA

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

I completed an honors thesis focusing on the depiction of general practitioners and medical specialists in Victorian detective fiction, ranging from Wilkie Collins to Arthur Conan Doyle. My work outlined how these portrayals reflected underlying changes in society and medicine during the nineteenth century. I took second place in the Phi Beta Kappa thesis competition. Regarding study abroad, I was selected as one of five US students to attend the Fulbright Summer Institute at Newcastle University in England, where I studied biotechnology.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

I spent two years taking care of my grandparents at home in Canonsburg before being accepted to medical school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. At Jefferson, I graduated in the top 20 percent of my class and was selected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical society, which is reserved for 1/6 of the graduating class and founded a startup centered on circadian-friendly, proximity-sensing nightlights to help reduce overnight light pollution in the hospital. I continued my training at UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I was selected as one of five chief medical residents. After completing chief year, I will pursue a career as a primary care with a focus on medical technology and mobile health at the point of care.

What was your favorite class?

I loved all of my English courses but particularly enjoyed my honors courses focused on James Joyce and Victorian literature.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

My liberal arts education informs every patient interaction and clinical decision that I make on a daily basis. My ability to think critically, process information, deal with uncertainty, and communicate effectively with patients ties directly to my background as an English major. As I have progressed through my career, I have found that my passion for English helps me to stand out among a crowded field of applicants.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

I would say that I didn't fully realize the magnitude and importance of networking until I graduated from Penn State. It is so vitally important to reach out, maintain relationships, and gain perspective on how your skills will translate into a career. There are so many opportunities for individuals who have critical thinking and rhetorical skills. Be open and receptive to feedback. Accept setbacks and always focus on moving forward. Your path will not always be linear, but networking enables you to understand next steps that may not have been apparent before.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

I have experienced great mentorship throughout my career—from undergrad to medical school to residency. Sometimes it can be hard to know where you and your interests fit in the grand scheme of things. Mentors help to set this context, guide your next steps, and encourage you along your path.

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