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Michelle Pfeffer

Becoming a Role Model for Her Peers: Michelle Pfeffer

One of this year’s White Coat “Student Coaters,” Michelle Pfeffer, has been inspired and mentored by many. Now, she’s working to do the same for her peers as a tutor and peer advisor for first-year students.

“Coming to medical school for the first time is like stepping into the unknown. You have no idea what to expect, so it was nice to have experienced students share some tips and tricks. This year, I get to return the favor,” says the second-year College of Medicine student.

Pfeffer’s desire to help her classmates has not gone unnoticed. She was recently selected to serve as a student coater for the College of Medicine Class of 2022 White Coat Ceremony, Monday, Sept. 17. The second-year student was nominated by her peers, along with five other second-year College of Medicine students, based on their academic success, involvement on campus, contribution to their class and ethical leadership.

The Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy White Coat Ceremonies are a rite of passage for first-year Northeast Ohio Medical University students. It’s a day for the incoming students to take their oaths and don their long-awaited white coats for the very first time.

“I was excited when I found out I was selected to be a student coater. White coat is a cool experience; you feel like you’re closer to actually becoming a doctor. It’s an honor to be able to do that for the next class,” Pfeffer shares.

Finding time for it all

Along with serving her peers, Pfeffer is also an active member of NEOMED’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association.

While the demands of medical school can be extremely challenging,  Pfeffer finds a balance – just as she did for 12 years as a competitive figure skater.

“Competitive figure skating was basically my life up until college. I did a few extracurricular things throughout high school, but I never did any school sports,” she explains. Spending so much time at the ice rink forced her to learn efficient study habits — skills that now help her as a busy medicine student.

Learning from the best

One special person has guided Michelle along the way: her mother, Margaret Pfeffer, M.D. (’92), a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics.

It was Dr. Pfeffer who encouraged the second-year College of Medicine student to explore a career in medicine. Dr. Pfeffer also occasionally gets out on the rink with Michelle, proving to her daughter that it is possible to dedicate time to their shared passion for ice skating, even as a practicing physician.

Michelle’s best piece of advice for other medical students? Whether it means lacing up your skates and hitting the ice rink or pursuing another pastime, remember to make time for yourself.