DO-PhD students make national table tennis tournament


Being a D.O.-Ph.D. student at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine can be challenging. For two students in the program in which students typically spend eight years in education and training to become physician-scientists, they balance classes, laboratory rotations, clinical clerkships and studying with table tennis.

For Alice Chu and Melissa Meschkewitz, playing table tennis at MSU brought an opportunity to play in the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) 2022 Championship in April in Round Rock, Texas.

Chu and Meschkewitz are in their fifth and fourth year, respectively, in the College of Osteopathic Medicine D.O.-Ph.D. program, and also are members of the MSU Table Tennis Club. A group of seven students qualified for the national tournament, following both divisional and regional competitions. Once they made nationals, they got to work to secure funding from the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU) and a GoFundMe® account so they could travel from East Lansing to Texas for the competition.

The April 8-10 tournament saw Chu competing in both singles and doubles matches with the coed A Team and with the Women’s Team. Meschkewitz competed with the Women’s Team. In doubles play, Chu and her teammate took 11th place in the women’s competition. The MSU Table Tennis Club’s coed A team earned 17th place in the tournament.

The experience will long be remembered by the pair. Chu said one of the highlights for her was playing against a former Provincial Team member from China. “I scored one or two points and that felt so good; I scored points!” she said.

Chu has played table tennis since she was 5 years old, although she has taken time off from the sport periodically during high school and college. Table tennis, she said, is not only fun for her, but helps her destress while in college. And “it’s good cardio,” she added.

For Meschkewitz the excitement of the tournament was meeting others. She’s played table tennis for 1 ½ years and joined the MSU team during fall semester. “It was fun getting to know people and learning the sport,” she said. “Making nationals was a great college experience, along with meeting people from other schools.”

Now, the pair are looking toward next year and hoping to return to the national tournament, taking with them the knowledge they gained this year. “It will still be exciting, but we’ll know more about what we’re getting into and will be more prepared,” Meschkewitz said. Most importantly, she added, is the fun the experience brought to her and her teammates.

They are also hopeful they can attract more players and get more people involved in the sport at MSU.

“It was great that we were all there supporting each other and cheering each other on,” Meschkewitz said. “It was great to be a part of this.”

Check out more pictures and video on the D.O.-Ph.D. program's Facebook page.