Student Spotlight: Yiran Wang

Class Year: 2024

Degree program: Medical Degree

Photo of Yiran Wang
Yiran Wang

Second-year medical student Yiran Wang's decision to attend medical school was unexpected. The experience of participating in a summer shadowing program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital as an undergraduate student unearthed Wang's passion for medicine.

"It was electrifying to be in that environment—to observe surgeries and procedures in the operating room, witness connections develop between physicians and patients in conversation and learn from all different members of the healthcare team," said Wang. "I felt like there was nothing else I'd rather do than medicine." 

Using creativity to solve problems is what drew Wang to study science as an undergraduate student at Cornell University, where she was preparing to pursue a career as a synthetic chemist.

Following graduation in 2016 with a degree in chemistry and chemical biology, Wang worked as a patient care coordinator in a dermatology clinic, where her desire to become a practicing physician was solidified. Having the time to spend with patients taught her to value the importance of building longitudinal relationships.

 In preparation to apply to medical school, she joined a structural biology and bioinformatics lab as a research fellow at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She spent the next three years conducting vaccine design research working with researchers to improve vaccine design.

 "I saw myself growing a lot in this period as a scientist, communicator and leader, but ultimately, I wanted to apply these skills into clinical practice and working with patients," said Wang.

The opportunity to have research and clinical training integrated into the medical school experience is what drew Wang to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.  

"I wanted to be part of a collaborative and supportive student community," she explains. "I also liked that the curriculum offered flexibility to explore career and personal interests, which for me included research, teaching and art."  

It was her love of art that sparked an idea. Modeled after courses at other medical schools, she and her fellow classmate Brooke Quinton created an anatomy art elective class—Drawing from Life: Study and Observation of the Human Anatomy. The class, a 10-part course facilitated by Wang and Quinton, is designed to reinforce anatomical concepts of the various organ systems through drawing. Read more about this course in the daily

"Brooke and I bonded over our shared interest in art. We worked together to design an art course that could help inform our medical training where we get to develop and practice observation skills, reinforce our anatomy knowledge and relieve stress," said Wang. "Taking inspiration from courses and other programs, we formed our course around the observation and depiction of organ systems and the human figure."

Outside of the classroom and art studio, Wang pursues her love of the arts by taking classes at the Cleveland Eclectic Dance and once a year dusting off her trombone to perform at Doc Opera.

Looking ahead to her career as a physician, Wang is unsure what area of medicine she wants to pursue but is looking forward to next year’s clerkships to illuminate her path.