Remy Roque ‘06 is about to graduate from medical school and begin his career as an anesthesiologist, but like many students, as he was growing up he didn’t always have a clear view of his future career.
Before becoming a Park Scholar and beginning his undergraduate career at NC State, Roque did know that he loved to build things and that math and science came naturally to him.
“I didn’t really know much about engineering but I think I got the same advice many students who are good at math and science get – consider engineering,” Roque said. “As a matter of fact, it was at a recruitment dinner for the pulp and paper science/engineering program that I first heard about both NC State and the Park Scholarship. I still feel incredibly lucky that the recruiter really encouraged me to apply.”
Roque graduated from NC State with a double major in chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering, but said it was the coursework he completed for his biotechnology minor that sparked the realization that he wanted to become a doctor. Roque said it also meant a lot for him to follow in the footsteps of a physician who he said was his biggest role model – his father.
After graduating, Roque traveled to Poland with an NC State professor for a summer research experience. When he returned to the United States, Roque said he finally made his decision – he was going to apply to medical school.
Before beginning medical school at the University of Maryland, he finished up his pre-requisites and spent a year and a half working as a National Institutes of Health Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Fellow – a position he landed through NC State connections. Roque said that his time at NC State really helped prepare him for the demands of medical school.
“I remember several nights staying up late or all night in DH Hill or EB-1 trying to finish assignments. Experiences like this made the transition to the rigors of medical school fairly seamless and easier than it may have been otherwise,” Roque said. “And I found that my interests continued to carry over to medical school and influenced my decision to go into the field I chose (anesthesiology).”
Despite his non-traditional path to becoming a doctor, Roque said that he wouldn’t do anything differently.
“The education I received really has served me well,” Roque said. “Being an engineering student gave me an approach to tackle any problem – regardless of whether or not I had all the information I needed at the time.”
This past year, Roque was invited to serve on the Selection Committee for the Park Scholarships Class of 2018.
“It was an honor to be a part of the process,” Roque said. “Each candidate I reviewed had such potential – it was much more difficult than I imagined it would be to review files and interview candidates. I’m really excited to follow who will be joining the next class because it is only going to add to the value of the Park program.”
Roque said that many fond memories resurfaced as he and his fellow Selection Committee members conducted interviews.
“Being able to give back to the program in this way was important to me because I benefited so much from being a scholar,” Roque said. “I wanted to be able to help select upcoming scholars who would both benefit from the opportunities the Park program offers and would also really be able to contribute their own strengths and talents. It was also a nice opportunity to get re-involved and feel reconnected to the community of Park Scholars.”
Roque was among the Park Class of 2006 alumni who interviewed Park Semifinalists in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. He said it was great to catch up with his classmates and reflect on good times, including their senior retreat at Yosemite National Park.
“For those students who are interested in careers as physicians, or really any career, my advice would be to not be afraid to follow your own path to get to your goals,” Roque said. “There are many ways of getting to the same destination. Don’t be afraid to take some time off or feel like you have to know what you are going to do for the rest of your life immediately upon graduating. It sometimes feels like these options are ‘failing’ but they can give just the amount of space needed to really make choices. And also don’t be afraid to change your mind!”
After graduation, Roque will be starting his anesthesiology residency at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore.
Story by Jason Katz