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Making a Mentor Connection through ENGAGE

Nolan Coallier, MD and his wife, Stephanie Song, MD

When recent MCW graduate Nolan Coallier, MD ‘21, was preparing for his residency program interviews last year, he looked for ways to practice virtual interviewing and got more than he had anticipated out of the experience.

Nolan reached out to Janet Lindemann, MD ‘80, on ENGAGE, the exclusive social network for MCW alumni and students, to request a mock interview. Dr. Lindemann is one of over 400 alumni who have identified themselves as willing to help MCW students advance in their careers.

Through ENGAGE, alumni and students can participate in the MCW/Marquette Medical Alumni Association’s Mentor Connections for Wisdom and Wellness program. The mentor activities in ENGAGE include mock interviews, information about a specialty, sharing research opportunities and more. The program provides opportunities for students and alumni to engage in mutually rewarding relationships focused on academic and professional goals.

Dr. Lindemann wanted to make the interview as real as possible for Nolan. “I emailed him a few days before our scheduled virtual call and suggested he join the call as if it was an actual interview,” said Dr. Lindemann. Nolan found a great mentor connection in Dr. Lindemann.

 Janet Lindermann, MD

Dr. Lindemann had a long career practicing family medicine and serving as an educator and leader in medical education. She is a professor emeritus and former dean of medical student education at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. She began her career practicing family medicine in Elkhorn, Wis., before accepting a position at MCW. In 1997, Dr. Lindemann and her family moved to South Dakota, where she continued to practice family medicine while serving at the state’s only medical school.

Nolan Coallier, MD, in white coat with his parentsNolan found the mock interview helpful and Dr. Lindemann found Nolan to be a remarkably strong interviewee. She was going to suggest he share something unique about what he wanted to go into and found he was already articulate about his distinctive aspirations.

“I chose family medicine as it connects with my career goals,” said Nolan. He and his wife, Stephanie Song, MD ‘20, anticipate practicing medicine overseas in an area where doctors are needed.

During his time at MCW, Nolan had a number of mentors that helped him prepare for his career in medicine. Theodore MacKinney, MD ’85, with whom he completed his clinical apprenticeship, was not only a mentor in internal medicine, but also had experience practicing medicine abroad in Nepal. Bryon Johnston, MD ’16, GME ’19, was Nolan’s fourth-year clinical specific advisor for family medicine.

Preparing for residency interviews is a unique experience because students haven’t completed many interviews since the admissions process as the beginning of their medical school journey. Nolan completed other mock interviews, including one with George Lange, MD ‘75, president-elect of the Alumni Association Board.

Nolan’s preparation paid off. He was matched to his first choice, the Mercy Health Grand Rapids Family Medicine residency program in his home state of Michigan.