What Interviewers Don’t Say

10 Sep 2018

AWS National Medical Student Committee Tweetchat
September 17, 2018 8 PM EST

By Shree Agrawal

Congratulations! You have finished your third year of medical school, and hopefully you are nearing the end of acting internships at your home and away programs! The long road of ever-changing clinical clerkships is coming to a finish line.  As September 15th approaches, the next steps include synthesizing your journey up to this point and presenting yourself as a polished residency applicant to your field of choice.

While the match and interview processes have evolved over time, common themes are expected.  Next week, in our Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) National Medical Student Committee tweetchat, we approach the interview process, focusing on how to ask essential questions about residency programs, navigate personal questions, and ensure you are communicating who you are throughout the interview experience.  

As more women enter surgical subspecialty residencies, the number of female residents has increased, but the number of female faculty members within surgical subspecialties has been slower to increase.  This phenomenon leaves a dearth of easily identifiable female mentorship to look to when navigating implicit bias that may occur during the interview process.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Patricia Numann, founder of the Association of Women Surgeons, at the annual Association of Women Surgeons Conference.  She described the process of entering a surgical field when she was a medical student. The questions she was asked in the interview process then, related to her gender and how it could “impact” her training. These questions were both shocking and yet, familiar- I have heard similar accounts from classmates who have recently applied for surgical subspecialty residencies.  

Join the AWS National Medical Student Committee along with our moderators with Dr .Sareh Parangi, Professor of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and president-elect of AWS, Dr. Lisa Ferzoco, Director of the Hernia Center at New England Baptist Hospital and moderator of the AWS Annual Conference Mock Residency Selection Committee Workshop on 10/21, and Dr. Justin Dimick, Division Chief of minimally invasive surgery at the University of Michigan, on Monday September 17, at 8 PM EST to discuss interviewing for residency as a medical student.  We hope you join us to contribute with your questions and perspectives as both faculty and applicants prepare for the next step towards joining a residency program!


AWS Tweetchat hosted by the National Medical Student Committee



Dr. Sareh Parangi (@SarehParangiMD)

Dr. Justin Dimick (@jdimick1)

Dr. Lisa Ferzoco (@LisaFerzoco)


Medical Students from the AWS National Medical Student Committee:

Shree Agrawal (@ShreeAgrawal21) – Past Chair, M4 at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Faith Robertson (@FaithCRobertson) – Current Chair, M4 at Harvard Medical School

Camila Guetter (@camila_guetter) – Marketing and Communications Chair, M6 at Universidade Federal do Paraná – Curitiba, Brazil

Sarah Armenia (@SarahJArmenia) – Research Chair, M3 at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Ashley Choi – Vice Chair, M3 at Duke University School of Medicine



To participate, be sure to follow @womensurgeons, moderators and medical students for this chat.   All of your tweets and responses will be tagged with the hashtags #AWSChat and #SurgInterviewTips. For more information on how to participate in a Tweetchat and other Twitter tips, make sure to read this previous blog by Dr. Heather Yeo.



Preliminary Questions for Tweet Chat:

  1. What are the most important factors to consider when looking for a residency program and how can a candidate identify them?
  2. What is a good way to get a feel for a program’s culture and whether a program will be a good fit?
  3. What type of implicit bias questions might students face in an interview? How can students prepare to tactfully answer these questions??
  4. What are common pitfalls to avoid during the interview visit?
  5. What tips do you have any tips for the social events the night before interviews?
  6. How and when should candidates contact residency programs after the interview is over?


Shree Agrawal is a fourth year medical student at Case Western Reserve University, where she also completed her bachelors of science degree in biology. She is passionate about research surrounding patient decision-making and is applying for urology residency this fall. Shree has recently completed a clinical research fellowship in genitourinary reconstruction at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic and currently blogs for Doximity and the Association of Women Surgeons. She served as the past Chair of the AWS National Medical Student Committee.  In her free time, she enjoys boxing, practicing yoga, and cooking. Twitter: @ShreeAgrawal21


Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.


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