Volunteer spotlight: CEO of medical mission group shares insights with students
By Steve Seepersaud
The most visible attendees of the March "Cool Connections, Hot Alumni" event were decked out in navy blue Harpur's Ferry t-shirts. These members of the University's student-run ambulance company - as well as the other student attendees who had interests in medicine and nursing - wanted to hear from a Binghamton University alumnus who found a unique way to marry aviation and medicine.
Stuart Douglas Hirsch '95, '10, founder and CEO of Archangel Airborne and administrator of emergency services at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, spoke to a group of nearly 20 students via videoconference. During the 45-minute talk, which included time to answer students' questions, Hirsch discussed his professional pursuits and passed along some advice on building a career.
In 2010, Hirsch started Archangel Airborne which, for him, was the perfect combination of his interest in aviation (he has a professional pilot's license), education (bachelor's degrees from Binghamton in anthropology and nursing) and family background (dad was an Air Force pilot, and mom was a nurse). Archangel Airborne has flown several missions to Haiti, bringing medical personnel and supplies to one of the world's poorest areas. Hirsch and his work will be profiled in the spring issue of Binghamton University Magazine.
"We've actually started to take medical students with us on missions," Hirsch said. "I like when students have a crossfunctional skill set. I encourage them to develop a medical surgery background and also work in emergency medicine. You learn a lot that way."
Hirsch advised students to seek out mentors who are working in the medical field. Adding to their knowledge base and their virtual Rolodex are two skills they should continue to develop throughout their careers, Hirsch said. He's studying toward an executive MBA at the Rochester Institute of Technology and is considering Binghamton's Doctor in Nursing Practice program.
"[In business], you may have a vision but there are areas that you may need assistance in. If you recognize those areas honestly, you'll seek out people who can help you. Sometimes opportunities come to you and you have to be ready to jump on them. Success is a combination of personal preparation, developing key relationships and having openness to meeting people who can help you."
In closing, Hirsch challenged the students to think deeply about what inspires them and align their professional and educational pursuits around that.
"Take the time now to envision what would truly mean the most to you as a person who is contributing something back to the world," Hirsch said. "Through all the disciplines you folks are studying, there's plenty of room to make the world a better place. Couple it with strong motivation and strong desire and if you follow that you can do very well."
BE ENGAGED - MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Learn more about how you can make an impact as an alumni volunteer. We have a number of ways you can be involved; we are certain you will find at least one that matches your talents and interests.