Stevens Engineering Education Helps Physician Alumna with Patient Diagnosis and Treatment

1/30/2012

The number of known diseases that affect the human population is astronomical, and more are being discovered every day. For a physician working to diagnose and treat a sick patient – especially one who presents with uncommon symptoms – extensive training and education can only get him or her so far.

Stevens alumna Corina Kellner Schoen (B.E., ’05) – an Ob/GYN resident physician at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. – says the analytical thinking she was taught as a Biomedical Engineering major at Stevens is what gets her the rest of the way.

“There is a lot of knowledge that one needs to care for patients, but occasionally you will run across one who doesn’t fit the typical model,” she said. “These cases need to be reasoned out. Thinking them through in a logical, step-wise fashion – similar to how one would approach a design problem – will get you where you need to go.”

Always science and math oriented, the Levittown, N.Y. native who loved building things grew up debating whether she wanted to become a doctor or an engineer. Schoen chose Stevens over an Ivy League acceptance, initially drawn to its renowned engineering undergraduate program and eventually sold by the full tuition scholarship she was granted.

“I knew that if I wanted a good engineering degree that I could put into practice, I should go Stevens,” she said. “I’ve also always been a logical thinker, and education that modeled that way of thinking made earning my degree easier and more interesting.”

By studying Biomedical Engineering, a new program at the time, Schoen found a way to unite her two childhood passions.

“It gave me an advantage to bridge the gap between design and application,” she said.

At Stevens, Schoen was involved in a wide array of extracurricular activities. A member of the women’s lacrosse team and Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, she also found time to serve as an Orientation leader, Admissions tour guide and SGA president. Off campus, she volunteered for the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, where she met her future husband, Stevens alum Matthew Schoen (’97), The couple had their first child, daughter Rosemary, in September.

The favorite courses for the current affairs hobbyist were American Foreign Policy and International Politics, but academically Schoen was focused on the sciences, excelling in her Biomedical Engineering courses as she pursued the career she was born to do.

After graduation, Schoen took the next logical step and began the pursuit of her M.D. at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

Today, she is finishing her training in general obstetrics, after which she plans to pursue a Fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine, a field which specializes in caring for women with high-risk pregnancies.

Looking back, Schoen remembers Stevens as one of the best experiences in her life, thanks to the wonderful education and rich campus life. But she says the greatest gift Stevens gave her was teaching her how to think, not what to think.

“In that respect, I feel I am much better prepared than most to be a physician,” she said.