By Dan Edelen
When gynecologic surgeon Nancy Keller Shumeyko ’80 stands before her med students at SUNY-Binghamton Clinical Campus and delivers 23 years of accumulated medical wisdom, she empowers them to transform the lives of their future patients—and does so gratis. For that reason and for her excellence in training the next generation of doctors, in September she received the university’s President’s Award for Outstanding Voluntary Faculty Service.
“I don’t get paid to teach,” says Shumeyko, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and surgeon with United Medical Associates, Binghamton, N.Y. “That’s not why I do it. I serve as a role model. That’s what [SUNY] was looking for: a faculty member who voluntarily gives of her time for the benefit of students.”
Being a role model meant blazing the trail as a female surgeon. Unwilling to appear less capable than her male peers, Shumeyko, almost eight months pregnant, performed a grueling seven-hour surgery without a break when she was chief administrative resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University. Staying true to her domestic side matters, too. Despite a surgeon’s schedule, Shumeyko remains committed to cooking dinner for her family (son Chris ’10, daughter Allie ’14, and husband Mark, also a doctor).
Shumeyko’s love for teaching began at Lafayette, where she earned an A.B. in biology, and continues in the College’s externship program.
“When I started at Lafayette,” says Chris, “my mom became an active volunteer for Career Services by hosting externships to show Lafayette students her field of practice and how her time at Lafayette helped her attain her current standing.”
Extern Lauren Howland ’11 notes: “I’ve shadowed other physicians, and they forget you are there. Dr. Shumeyko, though, allowed me to stand next to her during a dozen surgeries. I handed her instruments throughout the procedures.” Jessica Frey ’12 adds, “Those small things made a huge difference in the externship experience.”
Shumeyko’s patients reflect that huge difference too. The woman freed from incontinence, who cries tears of joy during a post-op follow-up. The grateful husband who says his wife regained her confidence and pride in appearance after reconstructive pelvic surgery. Shumeyko not only models what women can achieve in the field of surgery, but she also helps her students reach their goals. And, her patients live their best life now.