“Follow your dream. Know what you want to do, and pursue it” were the simple words of advice from dentist Ronnie D. Lee ’76 for Clemson students at the third annual “Tigers on Call” event on Sept. 22.
Lee has been practicing dentistry in Aiken for nearly 30 years. He joined a cast of approximately 50 health care providers, many of whom were alumni from fields such as medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and physical therapy, in offering wisdom to current students interested in pursuing many of the same specialties.
A panel discussion, seminars, round-table sessions and informal conversations with providers gave students an opportunity to learn more about specific specialties and talk to health professionals about their lives and careers.
Hazel Grace Hudson, a senior with a double major in food science/human nutrition and anthropology, said the round table session was her favorite part of the event. “When you’re shadowing, you normally only ask questions about medicine, about what’s going on in front of you, but this offers an opportunity to talk to physicians, to network and to ask questions about life in general,” Hudson says. “It can help me learn, so hopefully I don’t have as many failures in the future because I will have learned from theirs.”
For physician Lisa Carroll ’04, participating in Tigers on Call gave her a chance to provide an experience for students that she would like to have had herself. “When I was in these students’ shoes, I had no idea what to do,” says Carroll. “I just kept going through the motions of what I thought I wanted, without actually knowing.”
A physician in the family residency program at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Carroll chose her profession by sifting through library books. “I remember one summer, when I was at Clemson I went to the library, and I looked up books in all the different health professions, checking them off the shelves — one on being a physician’s assistant, one on being a nurse practitioner, one on being a medical doctor — to find out what those careers looked like, because I just didn’t know,” Carroll says. “But it’s changed a lot since then. I doubt any students here today did that.”