David J. Mulvihill, MD ’97
What have you been up to since graduation?
First of all, it’s hard to believe that it has been over 20 years since I graduated MCC! After earning my Science Transfer Degree in Chemistry in 1997, I transferred to Rutgers College in New Brunswick where I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. I then gained admission to UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark. Upon earning my medical degree, I completed a residency in general pediatrics at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. After practicing as a neonatal hospitalist at Hackensack University Medical Center for a couple years, I decided to complete a second medical residency in radiation oncology, which I completed in 2016. Since that time, I have been practicing radiation oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ, where I serve as an assistant professor of radiation oncology and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
What is one of your greatest achievements since graduating from MCC?
During my third year of radiation oncology residency in 2015, I was granted a Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conquer Cancer Foundation to fund my research on childhood radiation exposure from interventional cardiology procedures and subsequent cancer risk.
What is your fondest memory of MCC?
My fondest memory of MCC is not represented by a singular moment or incident, but rather a totality of experiences, opportunities and encounters. When I began my studies at MCC, I did not have a clear sense of where I wanted to take my life or career. Believe it or not, I considered a wide variety and breadth of trade, technical and career options including auto mechanic and computer technician before finally settling on medicine as a career path. MCC allowed me the freedom and flexibility to explore my interests and options in a supportive and nurturing environment.
What was your favorite place on campus, why?
I would have to say the library, as this is where I spent the majority of my time. Although I am not so sure I would consider it a “favorite” at the time, especially on those late spring days when the sun was shining and the air was warm, but finals were looming nonetheless…
Who was your favorite professor and why?
I had so many wonderful professors that encouraged and supported me during my time at MCC that it really is difficult to narrow it down to one. But if I had to name one person who had the most profound effect on my professional development, I would have to say Dr. Richard Conley, from the Department of Chemistry. He was my professor for Organic Chemistry I and II, both notoriously difficult courses for pre-med students. I knew if I was going to be a competitive candidate for medical school I was going to need to ace both of those courses, and I knew I was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen. I distinctly recall meeting with Dr. Conley one afternoon before the start of chemistry lab and asking him what I could do to make sure I aced the class. He turned to me and said, “Well, how much time do you have to devote to this course?” I thought for a second, and he quickly added, “There is only one right answer to this question.” I thought for a second more and I replied, “As much time as it takes.” He smiled and said, “In that case, you will ace Organic Chemistry.” And I did…
If you could offer a current MCC student advice, what would it be?
I think the best advice I could give anyone is: don’t ever give up on working hard to achieve what you want. When I decided I wanted to become a physician during the end of my time at MCC, I distinctly remember a number of people telling me just how difficult it would be for me to gain entrance to a U.S. allopathic medical school after beginning my academic career at a county college. But that could not have been further from the truth. With enough hard work, dedication, perseverance and persistence, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. That’s not to say it is going to be easy, but it will always be worth it. Challenge yourself constantly, work outside and above your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to fail, and always listen to yourself above all others.
Why was attending MCC the right decision for you?
I’ve heard it said that “all roads lead to everywhere.” I believe in this sentiment wholeheartedly. There is no singular right path in life that will lead you to what you want. It is up to you to take the road that is right for you. You can get anywhere in life provided you are willing to put in the time and the effort to get there. For me, the right choice out of high school was crystallizing and solidifying my ambitions in the small, supportive environment of MCC. I took a path that not very many people in my position have taken, but in the end, I found myself exactly where I wanted to be…