Dr. Jordan Gitlin, ‘90, returned to Binghamton University on Saturday to speak on his journey from his undergraduate years to his current role as a surgeon at a pediatric urology hospital.
The talk was part of a speaker series organized by Leah Joggerst, director of Harpur College constituent relations, and Dr. Thomas Langhorne, director of pre-health services. The series consists of several physician alumni who return each semester to speak to students about how they got to the current point in their career. According to Joggerst, students will be able to learn about the difficulties and process of becoming a physician through these talks.
“We say to [the speakers], ‘You know, tell us the good, the bad and the ugly of your experience and be completely honest,’” Joggerst said. “This way, our students get a sense of what it’s really like to do this.”
Dr. Gitlin doubles as a surgeon at Pediatric Urology Associates, P.C., in New York City and an assistant professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After graduating from BU with a biology degree, he received his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University.
Dr. Gitlin said the academic challenge BU poses for students was what prepared him most for his career.
“In a positive way, Binghamton [University] was competitive academically; it was demanding and it was tough,” Dr. Gitlin said. “You really had to study hard, and I think being surrounded by really smart people who are also studying hard motivated me. I always tell my kids, once you learn the skills to work hard and to study hard, you will be prepared for anything.”
According to Joggerst and Langhorne, they look for speakers who can bring a unique experience to the students. Dr. Gitlin’s concentration within the physician field fit that requirement.
“We like to make sure we have an array of specialties represented,” Joggerst said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a pediatric urologist, so it was very attractive to have Dr. Gitlin come speak.”
Dr. Gitlin said he was excited to come back to talk to students and was eager to give them advice.
“It’s nice to be able to guide students, and I feel that I can see it from the students’ perspective,” Dr. Gitlin said. “I know what I felt like when I was in their shoes. I wanted to speak to them, and tell them the things I wish someone told me when I was in their shoes.”
More than 30 students attended the talk, many of them pre-health students. Michelle Toker, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said she appreciated how Dr. Gitlin showed both sides of medical school and how he related to students like her.
“I got a lot out of the talk because Dr. Gitlin illustrated the negative consequences of going to medical school, but also that the rewards outweigh the costs,” Toker said. “He was truly inspiring. It was cool to feel a connection to someone who started where I started and succeeded in what I want to do.”
Dr. Gitlin concluded by encouraging students to pursue a career they will actually enjoy.
“Follow your passions, and do what you love doing because it will never feel like work,” Dr. Gitlin said.