Fourth-year Mayo Medical School student Paul Stadem recently was honored by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians with the 2018 Medical Student Leadership Award.

"His bedside ability and work ethic are an inspiring model to students and residents who work with him," said Margaret Gill, M.D.

He was born and grew up in Eden Prairie and earned a degree in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2013. He spent 7 months in Kampala, Uganda, on a Fulbright Research Grant before arriving in Rochester for medical school.

Paul said he wasn’t the kind of kid who always knew he wanted to be a doctor.

"What ultimately led me to medicine was the cumulative sum of a number of small experiences volunteering in the community, teaching and conducting research," he said. "For me, the only career in which I could serve others, teach, and advance science was medicine."

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During his tenure in Rochester, Stadem served as a member of the Somali Health Advisory Committee.

"Being part of SHAC allowed me to work on a diverse team of individuals with many different backgrounds with a common goal to improve the health of our community. Although I hope that I made a positive impact on the group and community, I can assure you that I learned more from the other members than I contributed," Stadem said.

Paul’s work with mentors at Mayo Clinic, specifically Drs. Margaret Gill, Lynne Lillie and Kurt Angstman, and service in the community led to his decision to practice family medicine.

"I was able to see how my interests in community health, public health, and advocacy aligned with family medicine," Stadem said.

After graduating from medical school this spring, Paul will return to the Twin Cities to begin a family medicine residency at the University of Minnesota. Whether he ends up in a rural or urban practice, Stadem ultimately envisions himself in a "resource limited setting" serving both children and adults.

‘Fastest Nordic skier in Rochester’

How did Danny Whipple earn such a moniker?

By skiing in the 50k skate race at the American Birkebeiner this past February, that’s how.

At this year’s "Birkie," the largest cross-country ski race in North America, Danny placed 72nd, skiing from Cable to Hayward, Wis., in the elite wave with more than 3,600 other athletes. He finished ahead of all of the other Rochester athletes that weekend.

Danny, the youngest of four siblings, grew up in Coon Rapids. Inspired by an older brother, he took up cross-country skiing in fourth grade. Feeling competitive, he entered a 14k race.

"I don’t think I got last, but I did get lost," Danny said. Despite the shaky start, he continued skiing and racing. As a seventh-grader, he skied on the Blaine High School team. During high school, he trained and qualified for junior national skiing teams.

And while he did not ski competitively in college, Danny instead played hockey. He said he wasn’t a great player, but "I could skate fast."

Danny’s post-college years found him in Colorado, spending more days competing in rodeos and fewer days cross-country skiing. Soon, Danny realized, "I wasn’t going to stay young forever." So, he started biking to work (30 miles round trip) and focusing on his fitness and health.

Danny has thrived athletically since arriving in Rochester. City and county parks and trails offer numerous training options. The Rochester Active Sports Club also has provided support for Danny and his training. Whether he is biking, skiing or rollerskiing, he is in good company, as Rochester is home to quite a few elite athletes.

Between his work as an engineer and training for competitions, Danny is still able to find time for his wife, Steph, and two young daughters. He’s that dad at the park combining strength training with playground fun.