Q&A: Molly Cromer (MSMP ’23) explores medical physics
Our Medical Physics students come from across the country to study with the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in both diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy tracks at the master’s level and in diagnostic imaging at the doctoral level. Molly Cromer is a first-year master of science in medical physics student studying radiation therapy.
Q: Where are you from, originally?
A: West Lafayette, Indiana
Q: Where did you complete your undergraduate studies?
A: Purdue University…Boiler up!
Q: In what did you major?
A: I studied Radiological Health Sciences with minors in both Physics and Statistics. (Pre-Medical Physics).
Q: What prompted your interest in medical physics?
A: I began my undergraduate experience as a physics major, and I discovered the field of medical physics at the Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics. I was later provided a unique opportunity to take part in MRI research at Purdue University, which I very much enjoyed. I then changed my major to the more specific Radiological Health Sciences degree on a pre-medical physics path.
Q: Why did you choose to come to Vanderbilt?
A: For me, the interview process was what really contributed the most to my final decision. I focused on how my conversations with the faculty made me feel. It was really important for me to be in a program with people who challenge me in a way that makes me excited to learn and comfortable enough to speak up when I am not completely understanding course material. I knew that a supportive learning environment would be key to my success.
Q: What has been your favorite thing about your program so far?
A: I love that our program is very small. The lessons can be fine-tuned to match our educational needs, and we have lots of in-class participation. Also, I love having classes in the hospital and the clinic. It’s a unique learning environment.
Q: What do you hope to do with your degree upon graduation?
A: My goal upon graduation is to advance to a [medical physics] residency program where I can continue to prepare to eventually practice as a therapeutic medical physicist in a clinical setting.
Q: How did you come to be a teaching assistant? Do you enjoy that role?
A: The opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant is provided to all students in the medical physics program. In my opinion, the position is a valuable opportunity to build my leadership skills, confidence, and sense of responsibility. It requires quite a bit of extra work each week, but it is a great way to be involved and it provides a stipend as well.
Q: Have you met any faculty members that have inspired your journey thus far?
A: Each of the faculty members in the medical physics program have inspired me in different ways. I genuinely see them all as great role models, and I try to spend my time with them soaking up as much valuable information as I can. I feel fortunate to be in a program with so many wonderful people.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in Nashville? Any favorite spots to eat or hang out?
A: There are plenty of fun things to do here in Nashville: attending sports games, concerts, finding fun places to eat, and more. I love to eat at nearby Poke Bros on Elliston Place, Bombay Palace on West End, and H&S Bagels. I also like to try new coffee shops every few weeks.
Q: If you could chat with a potential Medical Physics student, what’s the one thing you would want to tell them?
A: I would encourage them to take the time to make sure that they are genuinely passionate and curious about the field. Being a part of this program requires hard work, but if you truly enjoy the material, it can be really fun at the same time.
Want to learn more about Medical Physics at Vanderbilt? Visit our website.