Physician, pilot, average Joe?: How one VCU alumnus made his dreams come true despite struggling in school

Juk Ting stands in a victory pose near the turbine engine of an aircraft.

Juk Ting, D.O. (B.S.’90/H&S), enjoys a moment of fun near the turbine engine of an aircraft. Photo courtesy of Juk Ting.

By Erica Naone

Juk “J” Ting, D.O. (B.S.’90/H&S), 49, insists he’s an “average Joe.” Coming from a Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus who’s both a practicing physician and an airline pilot, the claim is a bit hard to swallow.

Ting worked as a stadium doctor at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for 11 years. His passion for flying became a career in 2016. He flew the Boeing 777 for Southern Air, which offers air freighter services, and is now flying the Boeing 747 for Kalitta Air, an American cargo airline. He didn’t trade medicine in for flying, though. Ting is Board certified in emergency medicine and is licensed to practice medicine in 22 states, which he does between flights through the telemedicine company Teledoc.

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Two VCU students share insights gained at Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

M.D.-Ph.D student Chelsea Cockburn, left, and Ph.D. candidate Katie Schwienteck, right, with Nobel Laureate Walter Gilbert, Ph.D., at the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

M.D.-Ph.D student Chelsea Cockburn, left, and Ph.D. candidate Katie Schwienteck, right, with Nobel Laureate Walter Gilbert, Ph.D., at the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

Katie Schwienteck (Pharm.D.’15/P) set a goal several years ago to one day attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Lindau, Germany.

“I had heard how wonderful it was,” she said. “I thought it would be an awesome experience. As it turns out, it most definitely was.”

A Ph.D. candidate in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology who’s already earned an advanced degree from the School of Pharmacy, Schwienteck, Pharm.D., was one of two students from the School of Medicine selected to attend this year’s event. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings focus on physiology, medicine, physics and chemistry.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Chelsea Cockburn, an M.D.-Ph.D. student who also was selected to attend. “Just to meet all the laureates and hear their stories was incredible.”

Schwienteck and Cockburn were among 600 students from 84 countries. Only 30 were from the U.S.

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