Dan Chan: Biosketch

By , May 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

So for residency we had to write biosketches of ourselves, and lest it be entirely drab and sleep provoking I decided to throw a pinch of flair.  Copied here for you to enjoy:

Born originally in Canada, I spent the greater part of my early life in Toronto, Canada (Population: 5.6 million) where I was schooled from a young age in mandatory French classes, learned how to tabulate in a sensible metric system where gas and milk were sold by the liter, went tobogganing and wore a tuque in winter time, pledged allegiance each morning to the flag by singing O Canada in both English and French, and nourished myself on a hearty diet of poutine, Tim Hortons, and maple syrup.  Sounds like a perfect childhood eh?  Not so fast.

At the age of twelve I was traumatically uprooted and downsized to Salt Lake City, Utah (Population: 1.1 million) where I spent the greater part of middle school trying to acclimate to funny fractions, decipher American history, and wondered why in the world was I competing in middle school U.S. Constitution bowl in a place where I was still adjusting to the use of monochromatic currency–let alone one dollar bills.

I gradually adapted and by high school I had earned my Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout award, somehow found myself as a delegate at Utah’s Boy’s State, and even aspired to student government in the footsteps of our high school’s famous alumnus: Karl Rove.  Then I found out what Karl Rove did for a living and quickly fled from any political aspirations I may have had and escaped to the antithetical domain of: electrical engineering.

Enter Provo, Utah (Population: 112,000).  You could find me hunkered down in the step down lounge of the Clyde Engineering building at Brigham Young University for the greater part of any waking or non-waking hour as I attempted to wrap my brain around Maxwells equations, decipher Fouriers transformations, fathom the implications of Einsteins theory of relativity, and figure out how in the world a Smith Chart is supposed to help me plot out transmission lines, let alone wonder how Smith drew the thing in the first place.

After my sophomore year, I took a quick time out from engineering for two years and represented my church on a mission to Dallas, Texas speaking Mandarin Chinese, but when I returned to the stifling surroundings of the engineering building entering my junior year I was quickly wondering why in the world designing the next iPod chip was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and looking at my engineering colleagues questioned: Where are all the girls?

So a long story short, there were no girls to be found in the engineering building, so I found one in the Dance department majoring in ballet.  A year later we were married and I was soon re-calibrating life and aligning myself towards a career in medicine.  Being stubborn, masochistic, or just plain insane, I finished off my electrical engineering degree with a math minor to boot, along with another two years of pre-medicine, rounding off with about seven years worth of academic credit on my transcript.  Quoting the premed guide I picked up one night while studying for my junior year midterms: “On choosing a major: choose any major…except for electrical engineering.”

So here we have it.  Rochester, Minnesota (Population: 106,000), I have officially become one of Aesops Fables, after graduating Mayo Medical School I will have spent four years in what I can only describe as the medical analogue to the Emerald City of the Wizard of Oz, rising out of the nothingness of corn and soybean as one follows the yellow-brick road of US-52 from the last human outpost of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.  Nevertheless our time has been wonderful here as we enjoy the great outdoors camping, boating, hiking, biking, and geocaching.  My ballerina wife Carolyn now keeps her hands full with our three boys, Mikey 5, Davey 3, and Dougie 6 months.  I became a United States Citizen last year but still have no concept of the imperial measurement system, and am happy to report that I have found great satisfaction and happiness within medicine although I’ll admit that I’m still tinkering on computers and electronics, programming the stray app in my off time, dabbling in amateur photography, running a few blogs and websites, designing Lego robots with the boys, and building and shooting off model rockets as weather permits–but hey, “you can’t spell geek without double E right?”

In the end we could not ask for more and we are thrilled to be able to continue our adventures here at Mayo Clinic for the next many years in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.  I look forward to meeting and working with all of you, and congratulate you on making it through my autobiography.


One Response to “Dan Chan: Biosketch”

  1. Cynthia says:

    Well done, sir! I enjoyed it very much. Especially the “can’t spell geek without a double E”. I hadn’t heard that one. My dad is an EE :)

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