Throughout his academic career, Frank Brown, a 29-year-old, fourth-year medical student at the University of Southern California, has sought--and heeded--the counsel of mentors. "When I'm groping for answers, I believe the best way to make a decision is to talk to people who have already been through the process," he says.

When Brown was an undergraduate, he considered being a physical therapist, but his adviser, a professor of chemistry, encouraged him to get his Ph.D. and do research. Later on, Brown was in a quandary as to whether to go to graduate school or medical school. In the summer of 1986, he enrolled in a program sponsored by Harvard University in which he worked side by side with a physician, who helped him clarify his career goals.

"There are so many wonderful professionals out there who are eager to help--to show you the ropes, or to help you get invaluable...

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