It has been eight years since Charles W. Sandor walked the halls as a student at Penn State Brandywine, but he makes sure to stop by whenever he can to visit the faculty and staff members who helped him succeed. Since earning his bachelor of arts degree in English, Sandor went on to become a physician at Riddle Memorial Hospital, located less than two miles south of his deep-rooted alma mater.
Sandor currently specializes in general surgery under the supervision of Hassan C. Vakil, who was chairman of the department of surgery for over 30 years. Sandor encounters a variety of medical cases on a daily basis, including abdominal and gallbladder issues, appendicitis, hernias, skin lesions, breast diseases and skin cancer.
Sandor explained that he spends most of his time in the outpatient setting, where medical cases are referred to the general surgery unit. When patients come in, Sandor analyzes their symptoms and presents a diagnosis while educating them about their situation.
"I like to take the time to explain what their condition is. I've noticed that it really puts the patient at ease," he said. "If you really give them a friendly ear, their recovery time is incredible."
Sandor has a great passion for his role with Riddle Memorial Hospital and explained that the most rewarding part of his career is the gratification he feels when helping others.
"We have cases where the patient has an advanced form of cancer and you're able to treat them, and they're so happy. It really pulls your heartstrings," he said.
After graduating from Penn State Brandywine in 2006, Sandor was debating what he truly wanted to do with his future. Holding a bachelor's degree in English, he had a strong passion and skill for creative writing, but was always interested in medicine. With guidance from his professors and family he ultimately made the decision to attend medical school. The summer after he graduated he left home and enrolled at the University of Szeged, located in Szeged, Hungary.
Sandor explained that his parents were from Hungary and he spent most of his summers in that European country. Having the ability to write and speak fluently in Hungarian made the challenge of living and attending medical school abroad possible. Although the university was located in Szeged, the program was taught in English. When making clinical rounds in the local hospital and seeing Hungarian patients, he explained, his heritage gave him an added advantage. "I became the most popular student during those rounds because my classmates knew I spoke the language," he chuckled.
While at Brandywine, Sandor was an involved member of the student body. He was a Cooper Honors Scholar, a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society, a member of the Student Government Association and proudly explained that he served as the Nittany Lion mascot for three semesters, calling it his "three tours of duty."
"Here the professors are so nice! I really do think I found myself at Penn State [Brandywine]. I have nothing but fond memories of this place," he said. "There's a charm to it. The administration, the entire faculty, everyone is here for one thing, to help the students. They really care about their students."