Cody W. Wendlandt, MD '07
Below Cody responds to a few questions about his experiences since graduating from St. Thomas.
What have you been doing since graduating from St. Thomas?
Since graduating from St. Thomas in 2007 I have had an interesting career path. In 2008 I was a co-founder of a Twin Cities-based company that specialized in medical documentation. This organization continued to grow in size as I worked my way through medical school and residency. Shortly after completing my residency in Family Medicine, my partners and I sold the business. Since that time, I have been doing locum tenens work in both Emergency Medicine and Addiction Medicine. In October of 2018 I also started a Direct Primary Care clinic in Sartell, MN.
Why did you decide to major in German?
In high school I had studied both German and Spanish. I initially wanted to learn German due to my own family heritage (coming mostly from Germany). My grandmother had attempted to teach me plattdeutsch as a child. It was an interesting dialect to say the least, but I found it absolutely fascinating. As I got further into studying the language, I enjoyed having the ability to connect to other individuals on an entirely different level. In college I continued my study of German, as I thought it would set me apart from all the other biology and biochemistry medical school applicants.
How has knowing German benefited you personally and professionally?
German has given me a greater mastery of language in general. I have found that it has helped me with English in addition to learning Spanish, Somali, and other world languages. It also helped me better understand the root components of medical terms during medical school. Furthermore, the ability to speak German has enabled me to make many good friends throughout the years. Lastly, German has also helped me communicate with my patients. I remember one such occasion during medical school where a lady fell off a horse and was “screaming hysterically” and no one could understand what she was saying. As the resident physicians were moving to sedate her, I approached the lead physician and asked if I could take over. Recognizing that she was speaking German, I introduced myself to the patient and she immediately calmed down. I followed her throughout her hospitalization, helping during her surgery and staying by her bedside to help translate for other physicians. It was definitely a memorable experience.
What advice would you give to incoming or current students who are considering majoring or minoring in German?
Even if you don’t want to teach German or study German history for a living, majoring in a foreign language shows that you are an interesting person. When employers look at multiple competent individuals in any field, they want someone who will stand out. Be the unique one!