One of the most important decisions medical students have to make — and one that is on their minds from just about the first day of medical school — is choosing a specialty.

Melody Rasouli, president of the student chapter of Salerni Collegium, the Keck School of Medicine of USC alumni organization, is planning an event designed to help medical students make that critical decision.

The weeklong event, called Keck School of Medicine Alumni Shadow Week, gives students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC a chance to spend part of a day at work with Keck School alumni who practice in the area.

Rasouli points out that , while Keck School students typically get more clinical experience than most other medical students, but that experience is in a hospital setting. She hopes Shadow Week will give students the opportunity to peek behind the scenes, not only at different specialties, but also in different practice locations.

“They will be able to see what life is like in an outpatient setting, which is something we don’t see here,” said Rasouli, a second year student at the Keck School. “Dermatology, for example, is going to be practiced differently in private practice than it is in a hospital.”

Participating in Shadow Week is an opportunity to get quick insights, but Rasouli admits she hopes it will also foster long-lasting connections between some of the students and alumni.

As an undergraduate at USC, Rasouli learned that one of the benefits of a degree from USC is the fact that Trojans look out for one another well past graduation. She said she often heard of USC graduates providing advice, mentorship and even job opportunities to younger generations of Trojans.

“I really came to understand what it is to be part of the Trojan family,” she said. “I hope that some people might find mentors who will help them even after they are done with school.”

Keck School of Medicine Alumni Shadow Week is tentatively scheduled for the week of Feb. 29 to March 4, 2016.

— Hope Hamashige