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Interdepartmental Medical Science Meet Alumnus Franklin Burg

Franklin Burg - Master of Science in Interdepartmental Medical Science Program Alumnus


Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Florida
Undergraduate: University of Florida, BS in Mechanical Engineering
Accepted MD Program: Drexel University College of Medicine 2021


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

I'm from Florida. I went to the University of Florida. I started off not being interested in medicine. I was studying mechanical engineering, but along the way I realized that career wouldn't be fully fulfilling to me. It wouldn't have the impact on people that I wanted to have. I wanted something more hands on, and that's when I started to think about medicine. When I graduated and applied to medical school, I wasn't accepted. I knew I had to improve my academics. I researched a lot of programs and applied to a few of them and Drexel, which I had a good feeling about. It seemed like Drexel's students were really successful. I was accepted and did the Interdepartmental Medical Science master's program for one year, and now I am in medical school.

Was it just through research that you came across the Interdepartmental Medical Science (IMS) program?

At the University of Florida, we had career advising, and they talked about various master's programs. I found out about Drexel because of an American Medical Association web page that compiled these programs. I read through the list, narrowed it down to about ten programs, and then looked at each of those individually. I chose to apply to Drexel based on its profile page and through the student interviews.

What was your relationship like with the faculty members in the Interdepartmental Medical Science program?

The faculty were great. In fact, the faculty were a big reason why I chose to stay in Drexel for medical school. They seemed to really care about what we were learning and how we were doing. They would remember our faces, which was a change since I came from a huge undergrad university where it was easy to feel anonymous. Here it is intimate. The faculty is a lot more invested in us, and they push us. I responded well to that. They were a big draw for me to come here. When I was deciding between the medical schools I had been accepted to, I felt like I knew the faculty at Drexel and knew what it would be like, and I thought it would be great.

What was your relationship with other students like?

We were a cohort of 20-30 students and I got pretty close with a few of them. We would come together to watch the lectures and then after that we'd socialize. We would study together and help each other get through the program. Some of them are here now as my medical school classmates. Others have gone into other medical schools.

How did the Interdepartmental Medical Science program help prepare you for medical school?

It was really a trial by fire. It was another step of seeing if I can really do this. I thought I wanted to be a medical student, but my grades hadn't been great. I wondered, "Can I really work as hard as I need to, change my study skills and succeed?" Going through the program and getting above the threshold that they require for the guaranteed interview proved to myself and proved to other medical schools that I do have the academic strengths needed to be successful.

Another nice thing about the program is getting to see what medical school is like before getting in. Drexel's master's program is different from other master's programs because here you are actually taking real medical school classes. I think some people discovered that it really wasn't what they wanted, while others were able to prove that they could succeed at this level.

How is your first year in medical school going?

It's going well. It's definitely challenging, but I love it. I like Drexel. I like being a student. Today we're wearing our white coat and have a stethoscope, aspiring to be doctors. It's the best thing.

Do you know what kind of medicine you want to focus on?

Right now, I am thinking something surgical because it fits with my engineering skills. I like working with my hands. I like the direct, immediate impact and immediate gratification of it. So that appeals to me right now, but I know a million things could change for me yet. I could wind up being something totally different like a pediatrician. Who knows?

What advice do you have for people considering the Interdepartmental Medical Science program?

It's important to take it seriously. Take it as seriously as you would going to medical school. Once you're in the program, give it everything because it can pay off. Get to know the school and the faculty. Someone gave me that advice when I first started, so I made an effort to get to know the professors, the advisers, the counselors and any Drexel doctor I could. They really care about the master's students. They want us to be as happy as we can be and succeed. They'll do as much as they can to help you. You're not going to feel like an anonymous, small fish in a big pond. It's really a great place to learn medicine.

How do you like Philly?

Philly is a great city. I love being here. It's got so much cool culture, it's thriving, and it's relatively affordable. It's easy to get around. It's got snow, but it's not too cold. There's sporting events, there's culture. There's a website called "You Wish You Knew (uwishunu)" and every week they're like, here's 25 things to do this weekend, or here's 15 free things happening today.