Alumni Spotlight: Tommy McMaster ’19

Introduction and current role:

My name is Thomas (Tommy) McMaster. I was a history major, class of 2019. At Denison, I was involved in Varsity Men’s Lacrosse, Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company, DCGA, and DCA.

I am a fourth year medical student at the University of Toledo College of Medicine in Toledo, Ohio. I am currently completing my clinical education which includes going on rotations through various medical fields to help build up my knowledge for a future in patient care. I have just applied to residency positions, the next part of my training, and will begin a months-long interview process with the end goal of being a physician pursuing physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).

What did your career exploration look like at Denison and how did you decide upon your chosen industry or current role?

During my time at Denison I had some ideas about what I wanted to do and knew that my interests in both the sciences and the humanities would serve me well in whatever field I pursued. Early on in my first year I was thinking about careers in finance/consulting, law, and medicine but by the beginning of my second year I was firmly decided on trying to get into medical school. 

How did Denison, or your liberal arts education, prepare you for your career?

My liberal arts education prepared me well for my career by giving me the strong foundation in the sciences necessary for my field while also allowing me to connect well with my patients and healthcare peers. It taught me to keep an open mind while in my education which allowed me to enjoy all of the different things I learned and eventually led me to PM&R. I also was able to be a part of our school’s first medical humanities journal and help advise on a course about virtual literacy so I continued to learn about and practice the humanities over the course of my four years post Denison.

Advice you have for students when it comes to career exploration? 

Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to make a change. There are so many people in the medical field who worked a different job before coming into medicine and there are people who have studied medicine and are doing things in government, public health, business, admin, etc. No matter what your degree or training, if you can use your liberal arts talents to make connections and take lessons from something and correlate it to another field you really are capable of wearing a lot of different hats. Always ask for advice no matter how silly it might seem, we have all been there before and the hardest part is just starting the conversation.

By Ashley Strausser
Ashley Strausser