Medical school is a challenging but transformative experience. Success relies heavily on an individual's intellect, judgement and self-discipline, but no physician would tell you they got through alone. Mentors play a key role in shaping medical students' paths. Meet some of the people who could be your mentor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Pamela Ryan

Pamela Ryan, MD

Clinical role: General Internist, Division of Internal Medicine

Mentoring role: Academic and Career Advising Program Mentor

What you love about mentoring: I enjoy getting to know students on an individual level, starting with their first year of medical school. As a house mentor, I meet with students individually to learn more about their personal and professional goals and provide academic and career advising. Medical school is exciting, challenging, and humbling. I am grateful to be part of an amazing team that supports our students!

Favorite thing about UWSMPH: I really appreciate the commitment to public health and the amazing group of people who work and study here.

Favorite thing about Madison: I love the lakes and easy access to the outdoors. The UW Arboretum is right in town, but yet a beautiful urban escape into nature.

Advice for applicants: Look for a program that is going to support you individually--both personally and professionally. Talk to currently enrolled medical students, and ask them about their experience. Reach out to faculty or the admissions group with any questions or concerns.

Hobbies: I love the outdoors—hiking, biking, kayaking, open water swimming, and cross country skiing.

Favorite midnight snack: Yogurt covered pretzels

Makeba Williams

Makeba Williams, MD, NCMP

Clinical role: Chief, Division of Academic Specialists in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Mentoring role: I mentor medical students at various stages of matriculation from first year to fourth year.

What you love about mentoring: Mentoring has played such an important role in my professional and personal development. Mentoring students at SMPH is one of the many ways that I aim to pay it forward and invest in our next generation of healthcare professionals. I enjoy being a part of the transformation process as students level up to achieve their goals.

Favorite thing about UWSMPH: I am so fortunate to be a part of an SMPH community that allows me to work with really great people: patients, colleagues, and students, all of whom challenge me to grow and learn.

Favorite thing about Madison: The natural beauty: lakes and prairies.

Advice for applicants: We expect that you are smart, driven and ambitious, so Lean In and Share. We are excited to learn about you, your whole self. In our quest to build an inclusive academic environment, I encourage you to share your greatness and what makes you special.

Hobbies: My four favorite activities are reading, writing, golfing, and playing the piano. I enjoying doing all of these activities with my two young children and my husband.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla

Andrea Spiker

Andrea M. Spiker, MD

Clinical role: Assistant Professor, Orthopedic Surgery; Director of UW Hip Preservation Program; Team Physician UW Badger Athletics

Mentoring role: Shapiro Summer Research program; research mentoring; clinical shadowing

What you love about mentoring: My mentors were (and still are) my coaches, my supporters, my life raft at times, my inspiration, my friends, and now my colleagues. I am grateful for my own mentors and want to pay it forward, and help the future generations of medical students succeed, excel, and be able to achieve their goals and dreams.

Favorite thing about UWSMPH: I have been continually impressed by the high standards of the institution and the UW’s commitment to research and its faculty, staff, and students. This is reflected in the exceptional quality of UW medical students, and the support UW offers in helping each of its teams succeed.

Favorite thing about Madison: Madison is truly a magical place. Madison offers the perfect mix of city, the state capitol, college town, outdoor adventure wonderland, culture, art, and great food; and it's a friendly community to boot.

Advice for applicants: Applying for medical school is daunting, but it is so worth it. You’ve done the hard work up to this point so that you can enter medical school to become a doctor, and continue working hard! Stay focused, trust in yourself, and know that all of this effort will pay off in the end.

Hobbies: I love running, spending time outdoors, and spending time with my family.

Favorite ice cream flavor(s): Chocolate, peanut butter chocolate

Marcus Chacon

Marcus Chacon, MD

Clinical role: I practice vascular neurology (stroke) at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and at the VA hospital.

Mentoring role: My primary role has been as a leader for the medical student clerkship experience in neurology. I have mentored students going into neurology, psychiatry, and family medicine.

What you love about mentoring: It is rewarding to see students develop and gain their set of skills and confidence. The best is seeing a former learner flourishing in their career.

Favorite thing about UWSMPH: My colleagues. They are smart, talented, and great to work with.

Favorite thing about Madison: The "vibe" from being a university town and the bike network.

Advice for applicants: Do not be afraid to highlight your personal characteristics that define you. Gravitate toward a school where there is an environment that will foster your success.

Hobbies: Running: especially marathon and half marathon distances. Biking: around town, Rails-to-Trails, and some winter biking. Reading: enjoy all types of reading and reading with my kids. Soccer

Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate peanut butter cup gelato