Alexandra Mieczkowski joined Alpha Delta Pi at the Delta Kappa chapter – Pennsylvania State University. Both her mother and grandmother were in a sorority which sparked her interest in joining one herself. Alex said she was “looking to find a group of women who were supportive as a family away from home, but also ambitious academically as well as in extracurricular pursuits. I knew of Alpha Delta Pi specifically because my Grandma (Marilyn Snode Conte) had joined in 1951 at the University of Pittsburgh. I joined 50 years later in 2001”.
Alex enjoyed her time in college, taking on many leadership roles within her chapter. She attributes these experiences as a solid foundation for her now very successful career. From serving on committees to helping plan recruitment, Alex made the most out of her time at Penn State. Her fondest memory is participating with her Delta Kappa sisters at Penn State Dance Marathon, which supports pediatric cancer care and research. “Working with my sisters towards that common goal is something I’ll always look back on fondly and with pride”, said Alex.
After completing her undergraduate degree, Alex chose to pursue a career in medicine, attending Vanderbilt University School of Medicine . She tells us more about how she came to this career path.
Growing up I had a variety of interests ranging from art to archaeology to meteorology, but was not specifically thinking of medicine per se. I grew up with a parent as a physician and saw that it can be a difficult career in many ways, for both the physician and their family. Being involved with our dance marathon, and specifically working with children and families affected by chronic illness, really helped me to see the fulfilling nature of medicine though and peaked my interest in the field as a career. While it’s not always an easy path, it’s incredibly rewarding to have a patient you have worked with for years trust you to help get them through a difficult time or simply to have them come in for a follow up and see them excited to fill you in on their new grandchild.
Alex turned to our sisterhood for help with medical school tuition. “I applied three times for an ADPi Foundation scholarship and am incredibly grateful to have received a scholarship each time. I know there are many deserving women across the country, and I consider the awards to be a significant honor.” Although these results are not typical, nor are they guaranteed, we encourage members to apply for a scholarship every year they are in school. We offer more than 70 annual scholarships that are for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students.
Alex shares more about her career and the impact Alpha Delta Pi has had on her personally and professionally.
I am a physician and currently at UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) as an Assistant Professor. I am double boarded in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (basically two residencies for a little bit longer than the time for one) and clinically provide primary care in both an academic office and an office in an underserved area of town. I did extra training in education after residency and have a masters of science in medical education, so I spend a lot of time working with and teaching medical students and residents as well.
There are so many ways that ADPi was important in helping me along in my career in medicine, and it would be difficult to list them all. The leadership opportunities that being in ADPi provided though were instrumental. These experiences served as a foundation for the administrative skills I used as Vice President of my medical school class, and use now in discussing care plans with interdisciplinary teams of medical students, residents, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers.
While my time has been limited (the 80 hour work week during training is a real thing), I’ve kept up with local happenings through the chapter alumni email newsletter and through social media. I read the newsletters, magazines and updates nationally as well. I’ve done some recommendations for friends of the family who have been interested in joining a sorority, which has hopefully helped to promote ADPI to some incredible young women.
I’ve also felt that it is very important to start giving back now that I am in a position to do so. I make a yearly donation back to the Foundation so that other young women will be able to have the same opportunities I have had.
Alex believes it is important to seek out mentors in our chosen career paths. She said, “It’s essential, especially for women (who consistently lag behind men in receiving mentorship), to make sure that they seek out people who can provide support and guidance, as well as constructive feedback”. She noted that alumni organizations, be it your Alma mater or Alpha Delta Pi, are a great place to find a mentor. Alex’s final piece of advice to sisters looking to pursue medicine as a career is this:
I’m often asked by students interested in medicine or by medical students interested in residency what types of classes they should take, or research or extracurricular activities they should do. I now review those types of applications, and the most important thing I look for is whether someone is passionate about whatever they choose to do. If you are excited about it, you’ll work hard, and that interest and work will show in applications and interviews.
Alex currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her rescue cat named Sophie. In her spare time she loves running – typically training for a half marathon a year, and has recently picked up painting.
We are grateful to Alex for sharing her journey, for her support of future generations of sisters pursuing their educational dreams, and for being a fantastic role model and representation of our sisterhood.
As a reminder, scholarship applications are due March 1st and are available online this year.