Career Counseling Office

Washington University School of Medicine’s institutional support for its students and alumni is a distinguishing characteristic and way of life for our faculty and staff. A unit that particularly exemplifies this ethic is the Career Counseling Office. The office is led by Kathy Diemer, MD, assistant dean for career counseling and professor of medicine, and Angie MacBryde, program coordinator.

The Career Counseling Office is focused on helping students:

  1. Explore the possibilities of graduate medical training and medical careers,
  2. Articulate their personal strengths and interests, and determine their “best fit” specialty or career choice, and
  3. Navigate the residency application and interviewing processes to successfully Match to a preferred residency position.

Learn more about what the Career Counseling Office has to offer.

  • We are dedicated to ensuring each of our students receives individualized advising and recommendations to confidently choose their medical specialty and successfully find their best Match. I’ve worked closely with medical students for more than 20 years. As exciting as Match Day is (my favorite day of the year!), it’s working with students along the way and getting to know them and their goals that truly inspires me to help them achieve all they dream to be.” –K. Diemer, MD, Assistant Dean for Career Counseling and Professor of Medicine
  • “We feel that our office is unique! We offer students a combination of career advising expertise, current data and resources, organization and timelines, and connections to faculty across the institution who can help guide their decision-making in the most informed way possible.”—A. MacBryde, Program Coordinator, Career Counseling Office

The Autumn 2021 edition of Washington University’s Outlook Magazine profiled the work and impact of the Career Counseling Office.  Diemer has been recognized by the American Association of Medical Colleges for her work with students. In 2018, she received AAMC’s Excellence in Medical Student Career Advising Award.

Comments from Recent Washington University MD Alumni

We interviewed a few recent alumni, to ask about their experience with the Career Counseling Office. The Q&A for each is recorded below.

Maria Schwabe, MD ‘20
Residency—Orthopaedic Surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine

In what ways did the Career Counseling Office positively influence your pursuit of residency?
Schwabe: When I entered medical school, everything was new to me! Nobody in my family had a career in medicine and I was a little unsure of how to “become” a doctor. Early on I went to the Career Counseling Office and I am grateful I did. They guided me on what needs to be done and opened my eyes to what it takes to obtain my future career. Moreover, after having gone through the culmination of everything with the Match process, I couldn’t imagine going through it without the Career Counseling Office! Dean Diemer and Angie guided me every step of the way and made a very stressful period very manageable. They were always there for me and I always felt I could go to them with any questions or concerns. Even up until the final days to the Match, they were there for me and just knowing I wasn’t going through it alone was incredible. Furthermore, they gave 110% to each one of us and I truly am grateful for the Career Counseling Office.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose a specialty?
Schwabe: Career Counseling always encouraged me when choosing a specialty. As a medical student, I always felt strongly about orthopedics as a potential career. I remember meeting with Dean Diemer even as a second-year medical student and she helped guide me on the right path to my future career. However, I had interest in several other specialties, and they connected me with resources and opportunities to explore all options. Seeing what I didn’t want was very beneficial as it solidified my specialty decision.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose residency institutions?
Schwabe: Career Counseling has an incredible wealth of experience in the Match process. As a medical student, I was open to seeing a variety of programs, but I wanted one where I would best fit. Finding that program on my own would have been quite the challenge! Dean Diemer not only discussed the academics and training style of programs with me, but really sought to find me a program that I would be happy at. She took the time to really know me and I couldn’t thank her enough. I couldn’t be happier at my residency program!

What else should prospective MD students know about the Career Counseling Office or WUSM?
Schwabe: If you decide that WUSM is the place for you, then go for your dreams! WUSM is an amazing place with the opportunities to help you obtain your dreams. I have always wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon and will never forget the people at WashU who helped me along the way. I will never forget those times walking into Dean Diemer’s office nervous and worried but leaving encouraged and determined. If you choose WashU then just know you have joined an amazing institution with people who will help you succeed. This is what makes WashU and the Career Counseling Office so unique and why I am so glad I chose to attend medical school here!

Gregory Wong, MD ‘20
Preliminary Year Residency—Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine;
Residency—Neurology at Stanford University

In what ways did the Career Counseling Office positively influence your pursuit of residency?
Wong: The WUSM Career Counseling Office was invaluable to my application success. From the start of the application process, I knew they’d provide high-quality, experienced, and personalized advice. When I first met with Dr. Diemer, she immediately built up my confidence in my decision to apply into Neurology and focused on both professional and personal aspects of where I wanted to match. Additionally, with the financial pressures of applying to residency, Dr. Diemer and the Career Counseling Office helped me tailor my list to what made sense for my personal financial situation.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose a specialty?
Wong: I was interested in Neurology throughout medical school, but Dr. Diemer and the Career Counseling Office cemented my choice. Career Counseling took the time to review my unique experiences and strengths from throughout my pre-clinical and clinical career to confirm my choice of specialty.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose residency institutions?
Wong: I’m so grateful to Career Counseling for their guidance in preparing my rank list. One of my key concerns in choosing a residency was matching somewhere near my partner (applying for fellowship the next year) and my family. Dr. Diemer helped both me and my partner strategically apply at institutions that fit both of our personal, career, and research interests.

What else should prospective MD students know about the Career Counseling Office or WUSM?
Wong: If I have one word to describe WUSM it is supportive. It’s just a part of who we are at WashU. That culture is present from the pre-clinical realm, with faculty who go out of their way to be available and provide additional resources; to the clinical realm, where interns to attendings know how to prioritize your clinical learning and engagement; to graduation and beyond, with the most helpful Career Counseling Office of any medical school around!

Nick Pickersgill, MD ‘19
Residency—Urologic Surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

In what ways did the Career Counseling Office positively influence your pursuit of residency?
Pickersgill: Career Counseling offered valuable advice and guidance in my application to residency programs. Dr. Diemer and Angie were always available to help tackle questions or concerns. My significant other and I “couples matched” to competitive specialties and their office supported and advocated for us in every way possible.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose residency institutions?
Pickergill: By taking into account our preferences (eg. location, research opportunities, clinical/surgical volume), the Career Counseling Office aided with decision making as we navigated through applying to a variety of programs. The office was also able to connect me with recent WUSM alumni in my specialty who offered key advice on what to look for in residency programs.

What else should prospective MD students know about the Career Counseling Office or WUSM?
Pickersgill: The Career Counseling Office offers tremendous resources during one of the most critical points in medical school, the residency application process. They play an important role in the success of WUSM students in the match year after year.

Kate Gerull, MD ‘20
Residency—Orthopaedic Surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

In what ways did the Career Counseling Office positively influence your pursuit of residency?
Gerull: Career Counseling was a critically important component of my residency-selection journey. Successfully navigating the complexities of residency selection and applications starts very early in medical school, and the Career Counseling Office was by my side every step of the way, starting in M1 year. They were available to guide me through every step: from effectively exploring specialties, establishing career goals, and walking me through the complex residency application and interview process. Their expertise and experience is truly unparalleled.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose a specialty?
Gerull: I came to medical school undecided about my specialty interest, and Career Counseling helped me explore many different specialties. They host career panels with various program directors, support the activities of the student specialty interest groups, and help you in establishing shadowing connections with various physicians.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose residency institutions?
Gerull: Choosing programs to apply to, interview at, and rank requires a lot of thought and strategy. I was incredibly grateful for the experience of the Career Counseling Office in walking me and my husband through this process as we couples-matched in orthopedic surgery and general surgery. Both of us felt supported throughout the process as Career Counseling helped us establish our goals for residency placement while considering geography, program research productivity, and program characteristics important to both of us.

What else should prospective MD students know about the Career Counseling Office or WUSM?
Gerull: I am incredibly grateful for the 4-years I spent at WUSM. I could not have made a better decision in deciding to complete my MD at WUSM. My training at WUSM transformed me into the physician, researcher, and social-justice advocate that I am today. As a student here you will have unparalleled resources, support, and world-class mentorship to become the physician you aspire to be.

Will Gerull, MD ‘20
Residency—General Surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

In what ways did the Career Counseling Office positively influence your pursuit of residency?
Gerull: The Career Counseling Office helped me successfully complete every step of the residency application process. Because of their diligence and guidance, I was never rushed to meet a deadline and always knew what to expect in the future.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose a specialty?
Gerull: I was undecided as to what surgical specialty I wanted to pursue. Career Counseling helped me find experiences that would help me further explore my interests and put me in contact with attendings who could answer my questions and help guide me through the my decision making process.

How did the Career Counseling Office help you choose residency institutions?
Gerull: The Career Counseling Office is incredible when it comes to knowledge about our own institution and others. They have a wealth of knowledge about historical trends and recent changes at institutions that helped me think strategically about what institution would fit with my goals for residency and future career.

What else should prospective MD students know about the Career Counseling Office or WUSM?
Gerull: The Career Counseling Office at WUSM is an incredible resource that can help you figure out what specialty to pursue and set you up for success in residency. Career Counseling helps make the residency application process as seamless as possible, I always felt they had my best interests in mind and were advocating on my behalf. In addition, the Career Counseling Office is very experienced with the couples matching process. I “couples matched” with my wife, and we met with the Career Counseling often to talk about next steps, questions, and possible options that would meet our goals for residency. The Career Counseling Office was a strong advocate on our behalf and we are incredibly grateful for their help.