The Path Forward

Hafsa Sadiq ’19, biology major with a concentration in biochemistry, neuroscience minor, premed, reflects on her shadow day with Katie Benning, D.O., ’90, family physician at South Shore Medical Center:

Holy Cross is an institution known for its academic excellence in fields ranging from philosophy to chemistry. As a student who did not have an idea of my future goals or career options when I started my first year, Holy Cross has certainly provided me a clear vision through field-based programs.

Through my academic coursework, I was able to find my passion in the sciences and hoped to find a clearer vision for a career. I learned about the Alumni Job Shadowing Program through the Center for Career Development. This opportunity seemed to provide the means for me to seek more knowledge about various careers, such as health professions. I applied to the program to see if I could shadow alumni in the medical field. By having the experience to shadow health professionals, I hoped to have a better idea about my future aspirations in the health sciences.

Dr. Katie Benning ’90 is a family physician, a specialty devoted to comprehensive health care for people of all ages, who works at the South Shore Medical Center in Norwell, Massachusetts. By observing her daily routine, I learned useful skills and information about the profession.

When I met with Dr. Benning in her office at the start of our shadow day, we discussed the intricacies of a hospital and the requirements that she had to abide by in her work. She also had a series of appointments for the whole day that I could observe. Through these appointments, I observed various doctor-patient interactions and learned about a variety of medical procedures, such as physicals, through Dr. Benning’s explanations.

I admired her warm and cheerful greetings to each and every patient, as if they were her friends or family. In between the appointments, I asked her questions about various subjects, including her experience at Holy Cross and in medical school.

Shadowing Dr. Benning was a great experience. I learned first-hand what it meant to be a health professional. This experience inspired me to consider a specialty in family medicine and also made me recognize how enriching a career in medicine can be. Through her conversations with her patients, I learned the importance of interpersonal skills in the field. Overall, the opportunity to shadow Dr. Benning and follow her work routine has solidified my career choice in medicine.

—Hafsa Sadiq ’19

Katie Benning, D.O., ’90, on why she participates in the Alumni Job Shadowing Program:

“I had a great experience when I was looking into the field of medicine. I tapped into the alumni network, and I was warmly received when I reached out to some alumni to let me shadow them. They were generous with their time and it really impacted me. I wanted to provide a similar opportunity for Holy Cross students.

I love hosting because I never know what students are expecting. Some of them want to see something [a medical procedure] in person, and some just want to ask questions. Maybe they’ve never been in a situation like this, in the doctor’s office from this side, working with patients. I try to show that a family physician can play an important role in patients’ lives, serving as a guide in helping them make decisions about their health, while also being respectful of who the patients are and where they are coming from.

I typically sit down with the students at the beginning of the day and ask them if they are looking to have certain questions answered, if they are looking for a certain experience and what brought them to contact me. I really emphasize that this experience is is for the students to gain insight into whatever they personally seek; maybe they realize that they don’t want to go into this field, and that’s OK, too.” That is a good experience as well. I’ve hosted four students so far and absolutely plan to keep participating.”

Get Involved

The Center for Career Development is always looking for more alumni to participate in the job shadowing program–all class years and industries are welcome! Learn more at Current students can learn more and apply by logging in to Crusader Connections. ■