Choose your own adventure

July 30, 2008

By hammersmith

Back in 1995, a few of us were at the Flinn Scholars Recognition Dinner, eyeing the dessert table and listening–more or less–to the incoming Scholars introduce the teachers that had influenced them most.

Usually, the 45-second stories that the new Scholars tell are pretty good–sometimes kind of funny, sometimes touching. More often the latter; there’s usually some real gratitude to express.

Raphael SeeMost of the way through, Raphael See (95) stepped up to the microphone to introduce his “Honored Educator.” And with a relatively quiet voice and dry sense of humor, he brought down the house.

We can’t actually recall what he said; probably, it was kind of funny and touching. What we remember is the reaction of everybody at our table: We turned to each other and said, This is the funniest guy we’ve ever seen.

It was the crowd response you’d expect the very first time a great comedian takes the stage. And so we thought, sure, Raphael says he’s going to be a chemical-engineering major. We know he’ll be doing the stand-up shows in Vegas in a few years.

We still believe Raphael could have struck gold as a comic, but it’s fortunate for everyone that he chose a different adventure.

After graduating from ASU, he went to UT Southwestern for med school and residency. Now he’s at Vanderbilt Medical Center, about to start the second year of his clinical fellowship in cardiology.

Along with his work with patients, Raphael has found time to engage in some great research. For a year after he finished residency, he was part of the big team working on the Dallas Heart Study. And now he has his second major publication, in the May 26 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.