As a student in a dual degree program that combines the patient focus of an M.D. degree with the research bent of a Ph.D., Nick Kummer recently defended his thesis on the molecular pathogenesis of papillary thyroid carcinoma in the lab and under the guidance of his mentor, Jan Geliebter, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology. But that’s only the beginning of this many-sided high-achiever. As a first-year medical student, Nick started the Creative Writing Club, which morphed into the Creative Art and Photography Club—so now he’s painting, too, and last year exhibited some of his work in the Health Sciences Library. He also has a commercial pilot’s license and volunteers for The Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force providing emergency services.
What do you plan to do with your dual degree?
Now that I’ve completed my research, I’m starting on my clinical rotations as a medical student. I hope to pursue a career in an oncology-related specialty and continue in cancer research as a physician scientist. That’s been true ever since I spent a year working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center after graduating from UC Santa Cruz.
What are you doing outside of school to further that goal?
I have been very active with the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA). Last year I was the Annual Meeting Chairman for the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA)- a 3-day international meeting for MD-PhD and research oriented medical students. The year before I was the APSA institutional rep. I plan to continue pursuing leadership positions as a means to serve my professional community, which is something I’ve come to accept as an important personal responsibility.
What are you best known for?
First, being a strong advocate for physician scientists through my activity in APSA. I also advocate for the dual degree program at NYMC. I’m also known for my odd hobbies… I not only fly, but I have been training in aerobatics whenever I get a chance, and I skydive, too. There’s also martial arts… the list can go on. Most of all, people know me for bragging about and showing off my son Lucas. He’s now almost two and has quite an extensive list of admirers.
What are you proudest of?
Aside from the obvious answer, my son, I’m proud of my stint as chairman of the APSA annual meeting. It was quite an overwhelming challenge to manage that and be a father, husband and student. I grew a great deal and learned a lot about leadership, responsibility and the need to for people to become active members of their respective communities.
Name one thing that struck you as you were making your decision to work or study at New York Medical College.
The opportunity to live and study in New York. I am a true Californian, and I love to surf, scuba dive, hike, I love the beach and the desert. I was very surprised to find I can still do a lot of those things out here—it’s just a little different. Surfing at Rockaway Beach in Queens is quite an experience. My wife and I now love New York.
What is your next goal?
I am eager to throw myself into the clinical world and soak up all it has to offer. I am really looking forward to my third year, which by actual count is my sixth at New York Medical College! It’s what I came to med school for and it’s what I have been waiting so long to experience.
What do you want prospective students to know about New York Medical College?
NYMC is really a gem. It has afforded me all the opportunities that I ever wanted. I want perspective students to know that if they are ever inspired in any capacity, that they can find support here to see their ideas through. I have seen my peers start a free clinic, establish a journal, persevere in research fellowships, outreach to the local community. The possibilities are tremendous.