Myra (Kueker) Wick ’86, MD, PhD
Consultant and Assistant Professor, Departments of OBGYN and Medical Genetics
The liberal arts degree from Macalester provided critical thinking and problem solving skills that have been important during professional experiences in the research laboratory, clinical laboratory and while caring for patients in the clinic, as well as in an acute care setting.
My liberal arts education also instilled an innate curiosity, which continues to provide me with a drive to participate in clinical and laboratory research, as well as research examining ethical issues associated with genetic testing. The liberal arts education also inspired a love of learning, which may explain the many years of post-baccalaureate training!
My career pathway has been “long and winding,” with many different stages! After graduating from Macalester with a degree in chemistry and a core in German, I started a PhD program in biomedical sciences with an emphasis in pharmacology. After completing my PhD, I had the opportunity to do a post-doctoral fellowship in a clinical molecular genetics laboratory. Approximately seven years after completing my PhD (and with three children and full support of my liberal arts educated husband), I decided to return to medical school. After completion of medical school (during which time we had our fourth child), I went on to complete a residency in OBGYN and a fellowship in clinical genetics.
The chemistry and biology curricula at Macalester provided a solid background for the PhD program, and for entering medical school, even several years after graduation from Mac. Writing and communication skills learned at Macalester have been invaluable for teaching, research and communicating with colleagues, students, and patients. The problem-solving skills gained at Macalester have been crucial at every stage in my career, and increasingly so as the practice of medicine continues to undergo significant changes. Problem solving and communication skills have also been critical for raising a family while pursuing a full-time career.
While it is important to complete prerequisites for future professional training, it is also important to take advantage of opportunities at Macalester—travel abroad, explore areas of interest that may not be a focus of your future profession, participate in sports/arts/service projects. If you are not certain of your career pathway, or if your pathway changes, your liberal arts education will provide you with important skills which will allow you to succeed in future endeavors.