Read Dr. Lickstein’s inspiring story about his mentor and apply for our student internship program by filling out the form below. This program is open to students from high school to graduate school.
“Those having torches will pass them on to others”
– Plato’s Republic
We all know the difference a special teacher or mentor can make in our lives.
As a 13-year-old eighth grade student I reached out to Dr. M. Felix Freshwater, a local plastic surgeon that specialized in hand and microsurgery. He took my interest seriously, and helped me complete a project for the county science fair. Only later did I appreciate how special it was for a busy physician to respond to an unexpected inquiry from a child he did not know. He was somehow able to see my potential, and nurture it.
Over the 35 years that followed, we remained in touch. He always had words of encouragement, and advice as I transitioned from the challenges of being a student to treating difficult cases in my own practice. The person that began as a mentor eventually became a valued friend and colleague.
Before he passed away, we had the chance to have one final conversation. I thanked him for the impact he had on me, and undoubtedly so many others. I explained that I have always welcomed observers and students of all levels because of what he did for me. He simply told me that it is an obligation we all share, and quoted the words above, inscribed on one of the buildings of his alma mater, Yale Medical School.
During my residency, I was exposed to other teachers that left their mark. They somehow knew how to say the encouraging words at the right time, or push the magic buttons that helped me work harder and develop into the best technical surgeon and compassionate physician I could be. In time, I began to “pass the torch” and was recognized with awards for teaching and being the resident most supportive of his colleagues.
Leaving the academic setting, I hoped I would not lose those interactions in private practice. As years have progressed, I was thrilled to have been approached by many students and parents of students who are interested in learning more about a potential career in medicine, plastic surgery or as a physician’s assistant. Helping these future practitioners has been one of the more fulfilling aspects of my career to date.
To continue “passing the torch” we are proud to have established the Lickstein Plastic Surgery Internship Program. For information regarding the program, and application process, please direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a copy of the original letter that Dr. Lickstein wrote to Dr. Freshwater when he was in eighth grade!