For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Biomedical Studies Meet Alum Mariah Elly

Mariah Elly, Drexel Biomedical Studies Program Student


Hometown: Stafford, Virginia
Undergraduate: University of Virginia, BA in Biology
Graduate: Drexel University College of Medicine, MS in Biomedical Studies
Accepted Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine, Class of 2021


Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?

I grew up mostly in Virginia, where I attended high school in a suburb near Washington, D.C. and college at the University of Virginia, graduating in 2013. I wasn't sure that I wanted to go to medical school, so I took a little bit of time to figure that out. In my senior year of college, I did a scribe program associated with the University's hospital system, which first got me interested in patient care by working in a clinical setting. After graduating from UVA, I continued working as an Emergency Medicine scribe for year full-time while trying to decide on the specific profession I would like to pursue. After my position as a scribe ended, I worked as a summer camp counselor for children with special medical needs, which is ultimately the experience that finalized my decision to attend medical school. Because I had not completed the required medical school prerequisites, I moved back home to do these at a nearby college. Once these were completed, I still wanted my application to medical school to more competitive, so I decided to do a special master's program.

How did you hear about the Drexel Biomedical Studies (MBS) program?

I began my search for a special master's program on the Association of American Medical Colleges website which listed several graduate programs at Drexel University. I was familiar with Drexel through a friend who was attending medical school there. This friend then got me in touch with a colleague of hers who had completed the Biomedical Studies program and had been accepted to Drexel's medical school.

What was it about Drexel's program that attracted you?

I thought the Biomedical Studies program was a good fit for me because I needed to remediate some undergraduate science classes and improve my GPA. I also wanted to prove that I was a competitive applicant which could be done by performing well in challenging coursework similar to the classes I would be taking in medical school. The Biomedical Studies program offered both opportunities, as well as ways to get involved in volunteer work and research.

What was your experience like with the faculty in the program?

I appreciated every single one of my faculty members that I met through the Biomedical Studies program. They are extremely helpful and supportive. All of our professors have an open door policy and welcome questions. They also advise us through the application cycle and can advocate for you by writing letters of recommendation. In the second year you also have the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant for your first-year professors which is a good opportunity to develop teaching skills, improve how you communicate with others, and establish strong relationships with faculty.

What was your relationship with your classmates like?

I developed very meaningful relationships with my classmates in Biomedical Studies and with colleagues in other Drexel graduate programs. The Biomedical Studies program, in particular, was a pretty small group of people during the first year. Because we attended lectures together everyday we all became close. I also felt the environment with my classmates was extremely supportive. Students genuinely wanted everyone to do well so we could get into medical school and I think this facilitated an open, friendly environment without the need to be competitive.

Did you do a research project?

Biomedical Studies requires you to do a research project over the summer, so I did mine in clinical research. It gave me an introduction to collaborating with researchers, and allowed me to participate in the process of developing a research study.

Did you do any other extracurricular activities or volunteering while in the program?

There is a community service aspect of the program that is also required where you have to fulfill a reasonable amount of volunteer hours. I completed this volunteering at Spring Garden Middle School. I went once a week, either tutoring students after school, helping them in their science classes, or assisting on projects with the physics club. Additionally, I volunteered at the Eliza Shirley House where I did arts and crafts with children so that their single mothers could attend educational meetings.

Did the Biomedical Studies program help you prepare for medical school?

I strongly believe this program is what got me into medical school, and not just one but several. Through the program I became a competitive applicant and was sufficiently prepared for medical school. The graduate school preparation also helped me fine-tune my study strategies, so now I'm a more effective learner, and I know exactly what to focus on. With the classes that I'm taking now, while it is a lot of work, I'm able to be successful.

Do you know what type of medicine you'd like to go into?

Through my experiences prior to medical school, I had an idea that I was passionate about maternal and child health. These ideas led me to think pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology would be a good fit for me. However, there are so many fields of medicine and my interests change each week so I am keeping an open mind. With shadowing opportunities and interest group meetings, I hope to explore various fields before deciding on the right one for me.

What advice do you have for someone who is considering the Biomedical Studies program?

Lean on your classmates for support and use one another as a resource. Find a couple of people that you can study with or go through questions together. Additionally, use the time to figure out what kind of learner you are and how you best study. It is two years of hard work, but it is worth it to get you to where you want to be. I looked at the Biomedical Studies program as a second chance and challenged myself to do the best I possibly could. I encourage everyone to take this opportunity seriously so that when the application cycle comes around you know that you did all you could to make yourself the best applicant you could possibly be.

Biomedical Studies program graduate students in the classroom at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events.