Major: Psychology; special concentration in business management
Hometown: Valley Stream, N.Y.
Awards: National Residence Hall Honorary – King’s Crown Chapter Member, King’s Crown Leadership Award – Columbia Spirit (2014), Indelible Mark (2015, 2016); Milch Prize (2015), Frederick A.P. Barnard Award (2015), Richard H. Fox Memorial Prize (2016)
Clubs: Columbia Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Columbia University Wind Ensemble, Multicultural Business Association at Columbia University, American Medical Students Association at Columbia - Public Health Committee
Though he has long aspired to a career in medicine, Charles Sanky CC’16 chose the College because he sought a “wide variety of experiences” as an undergraduate. For that same reason, in 2014, he applied successfully to the Icahn Medical School at Mount Sinai’s FlexMed program, which offers early acceptance to college sophomores from any major and does not require an MCAT.
Having thus secured a spot in medical school early on, Sanky went on to fulfill his vision of an eclectic undergraduate experience. In addition to enjoying academic flexibility, he had time for an array of co-curricular activities, including the performing arts. During all four years, he played the euphonium with the CU Wind Ensemble, of which he was president as a sophomore and junior. In March, he performed with the group in its first appearance at Carnegie Hall since 1965. “I’m very proud of the group,” says Sanky, who also was part of the cast for the 122nd Varsity Show. “We’ve grown a lot over the years and have become one of the premier college wind ensembles.”
A Kluge Scholar, Sanky also pursued a number of leadership roles on campus, serving on the Columbia College Student Council as Student Services Representative his junior year and on the Class of 2016 Council as VP his senior year. He also was the CC/SEAS student chair for the 2014 New Student Orientation Program.
Although he did not follow a traditional pre-med curriculum, Sanky explored his passion for healthcare in other ways. A New York State certified EMT, he volunteered with the Columbia University Emergency Medical Service for two years. During Summer and Fall 2015, he interned at New York City Department of Health, in the Division of Policy, Planning, and Strategic Data Use within the First Deputy Commissioner’s Office. And, from June 2015 until he graduated, he conducted research for the School of Social Work’s Project ICI — a three-year study that examines changes in the ways New York City’s health and social service agencies work together to meet the needs of constituents.
Confident that having studied psychology as an undergraduate will allow him to better “understand where [his] patients are coming from,” Sanky will begin his M.D. studies this fall. “Medicine combines all the things that are important to me — advocacy, education, community service and science,” he says. “It’s the perfect field for me.”
— Nathalie Alonso CC’08