Tell us a little about your background before you came to Drexel.
I attended Rutgers University where I double-majored in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Psychology. After I graduated in 2017, I spent the next two years at the National Institute on Drug Abuse working as a post-baccalaureate research fellow in a neuroimaging lab. Along with research, I also volunteered at various hospitals and clinics and shadowed physicians, where I discovered my passion for a medical career.
Why did you decide to enroll in a post-baccalaureate program? And why did you feel the Intensive Medical Sciences program was a good fit for you?
I decided to enroll in a post-baccalaureate program because I had applied to medical school the previous year and ended up not getting accepted. After speaking with advisors, I understood that my undergraduate GPA was on the lower side and I wanted to prove that I was able to handle the rigors of the challenging medical curriculum. I felt the Intensive Medical Sciences program was the perfect fit for me because it was a one-year program that allowed me to take the same classes as first-year medical students, giving me a better idea of what I can expect and show my growth as a student since my undergraduate studies. The program also allowed me to reapply to medical schools at the beginning of the program so I could avoid another gap year if accepted.
Since graduating from the IMS program, what did you do to continue building your medical school application?
Since graduating from the IMS program, I am preparing to start medical school in the fall at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. I am also continuing to work on a manuscript with my previous lab that we are hoping to publish later this year.
What influenced you to want to become a doctor?
I was volunteering at a medical clinic for the homeless population in Baltimore when I discovered my desire to become a physician. I loved getting to know the patients and seeing their health improve over time, which also improved other aspects of their lives. I was also struck by their kindness and willingness to work together so we could both help each other. The importance of the patient-physician relationship has stayed with me and I hope to build upon that as a future physician.
What has allowed you to achieve your current accomplishments?
I think networking is such a valuable resource that has helped me achieve many of my accomplishments along with a good work ethic. Making connections and maintaining relationships with colleagues and supervisors has been such a big help to me and opened many doors. Beyond looking for experience, talking to others and asking for help is also very important and gave me a lot of insights that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Most importantly, having a positive attitude and being eager to learn and work has been my key to success.
As one of our successful students, what advice would you give to current and future IMS students?
Advice that I would give to current and future IMS students is to be prepared to work the hardest you ever have and give it your all. Don’t cram for exams, there is too much material. Don’t fall behind, it is very difficult to catch back up. Don’t be afraid to try new study methods and techniques, find what works for you. Talk to your classmates, it is reassuring to know you’re not alone. I also suggest having a knowledgeable person look at your application and highlight any weaknesses such as low GPA, low MCAT, or not enough clinical hours so you can start working on it early. I saw this program as my second chance to improve my GPA so I cut out distractions and learned how to study more effectively. If you didn’t perform well academically during undergrad, I suggest spending time to figure out what went wrong and how to move forward and improve.