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Eric Drago was pretty sure he wanted to be a doctor, but he felt it was important to experience a bit of the working world first. “I always loved science – I was the ‘science fair’ kid in middle school. I built a DNA helix from popsicle sticks and went to states in the Science Olympiad. After graduating from GAR Memorial High School, I went to Susquehanna University, but I was torn between biology or chemistry, so I did both. I was a biochemistry major.”

Eric said by the time he graduated from Susquehanna, “I was sick of loans. I am not from the richest family, so the lure of earning was very strong. I wanted to get a job and some experience in the world. I knew I would ultimately do post-baccalaureate work, but I wasn’t sure if I would pursue a PhD and do research, or go to medical school.”

Eric’s job experiences helped him make a decision. He worked at Sanofi Pasteur for four years in quality control doing what he calls “table-top chemistry.” Eventually, he had the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in biology from East Stroudsburg University. “While I was in the ESU program, a mentor I had at the school said to me, ‘Why aren’t you in medical school?’ I was still debating between medicine and research, but my experiences at Sanofi and at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, where I was working in a lab, convinced me: I really wanted the human interaction of medicine. Social interaction recharges me.”

While working at Geisinger Commonwealth, Eric sat in on lectures and got to know Geisinger Commonwealth faculty, staff and students. “All of the students loved the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) because you really get to know patients and their families,” he said. So when Eric was finally ready to commit to becoming a doctor, choosing Geisinger Commonwealth was easy.

Today, Eric is a fourth-year student with residency applications, his recent wedding and his future on his mind. “I want to go into medical oncology. There is so much hope in that field. Plus, it’s a field full of new discoveries – the science geek in me likes that. Also, Geisinger Commonwealth gave me a job, a scholarship and my medical education. I definitely want to give back to the school in some way in the future.”
Eric Drago