2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? My favorite professor at SUNY Binghamton was John Fletcher. I took his Physical Fitness and Wellness class during my junior year and ever since then, I started to care more about my health and staying active. Being that I have always been thin throughout my life, I never cared and would eat so much sugary food and fast food. After taking his class, I only drink water with meals and stopped eating at fast food chain restaurants. The following semester John Fletcher hired me for a work study position as a receptionist in the gym for my senior year. I was responsible for distributing towels, making sure soiled towels were washed and dried for the gym classes later in the day, keeping a daily log of students who used towels and other administrative duties.
3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? My initial interest in medicine stems from witnessing the health decline of my family members. I always wondered about the pathophysiology of their illnesses at a young age and I want to contribute to medicine by helping others battle disease. After witnessing my aunt lose a battle to breast cancer, I made a promise to myself to fight for others and to also participate in cancer research during medical school. I want to become a physician because of health disparities in low socioeconomic communities. I want to be there for my patients because I have witnessed patients reluctant to express their concerns to their doctors because of a culture gap.
When I was a freshman in high school, 3 of my friends and I were hit by a car which exposed me to different medical specialties. I was amazed by the detailed diagnostic work the physicians had to run on me to rule out internal bleeding, fractures or any life threatening conditions. One of the doctors pulled up a chair adjacent to my bedside and explained everything to me. When I think about this experience, I envision myself giving my patients the same amount of time and attention and hope to leave a similar impact on my patient’s lives. I was impressed by the way the medical staff worked as a team, and this has solidified my determination to go into medicine.
4. What area of medicine are you interested in? Working as a medical scribe, I became aware of the shortage of primary care physicians in our country and the detrimental effects this has on patients. I also have a strong interest in becoming an emergency medicine physician at a level 1 trauma center. I thrive in a fast paced environment and have worked with dozens of emergency room physicians at the urgent care clinic where I work.
5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? I would have to say my coolest pre-med experience has been working as a medical scribe because i have seen A LOT! Just when I thought I saw everything that I can see in an urgent care setting, I am presented with yet another interesting case. I interact directly with patients by retrieving them from the waiting room, taking their vitals, asking their history of present illness, past medical history and then presenting their case to the provider. I am also responsible for performing rapid tests before the patient is seen which includes, rapid strep and flu tests, urinalyses, EKGs, visual acuity examination and setting up for procedures.
6. What is your favorite book? My favorite book is Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson. The first time I read this book was in 11th grade and I have read it again in college. I have also watched the movie twice. It is a great read for anyone with doubt, fear or anyone who is discouraged on this pre-medical journey. Never give up and don’t let anything get in your way.
7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I have visited eight countries in the past four years and continue to cross of destinations on my travel bucket list.
Also, my middle name is STARR.
8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? Pshh, yeah right. I want to be a physician because I won’t get the same fulfillment doing anything else and I will not rest until I reach my goals.
9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? During my junior year of college, I received a call from my father who was in distress because our apartment was destroyed. He just returned home after driving me to school with the rest of my winter clothes and was shocked by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He was unable to salvage most of our personal belongings and my sister did not have any clothes in order to attend school. I felt helpless because I was four hours from home and had to be present in my classes. Unfortunately, this situation left me unfocused with my studies and I suffered a lack of confidence. I was already trying to get over my self-doubt after a challenging transition as a transfer student. My grades were slipping and I had to think actively in order to pass my courses for the semester. I went to tutoring and worked up the courage to ask for help from my instructors. Learning to be a better student was imperative for the completion of my undergraduate degree. I learned that life doesn’t stop when something goes wrong and was able to see the bigger picture.
10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR? I love that PreMed STAR is a hidden gem full of a bunch of pre-med students who all have the same goals and dreams. I enjoyed the MCAT study sessions because it really helped me grasp high yield concepts. I also enjoyed the MCAT question of the week.
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