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Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Program Rising Stars and Student Profiles

Kate Williams, IHS Rising Star, Class of 2022

"Since day one, I knew that the IHS program was special. From an academic standpoint, you are exposed to a broad variety of courses that challenge you and help you grow as a student. From a community involvement perspective, the city of Philadelphia is a great place to volunteer, which I’ve seen in the numerous and diverse organizations with which IHS students work. However, the thing that really makes IHS special, and what has made this such a truly positive experience for me are the people." Read Kate's story.

Shayna Zanker, IHS Class of 2021

"I'm so glad that I switched to IHS. The community, like the other students – everybody just genuinely wants to see each other succeed. That is something that's so refreshing because it's very uncommon in pre-med culture. In the IHS group chat, everyone's always encouraging one another. You see people saying, ‘Oh, this is another volunteer opportunity' or, ‘here's an opportunity to study this or that.' It's just really nice, and refreshing, and a great group of people. I'm really glad to be a part of it." Read Shayna's story.

Faith Blamon, IHS Class of 2020

"The instructors are phenomenal; they teach in a way that makes material both interesting and understandable. There is a sense of community in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program." Read Faith's story.

Syeda Sarder, Fall 2019 Rising Star

"My experiences in IHS helped me grow in numerous ways. It has made me: a student with an in-depth knowledge of biomedical sciences, a professional with more cultivated interpersonal and communication skills, and an overall stronger applicant for medical school." Read Syeda's story.

Dip Patel, Spring 2019 Rising Star

"This program really emphasizes collaboration and team-based pedagogies, which is heavily emphasized in the medical field. I am very close with my classmates and there’s no sense of competition between us. It’s kind of like a big family. I feel close with the faculty too. They are very personable, and they truly want to help you. They’re always trying to make sure you’re doing the best that you can do. If you come here, work hard and take advantage of all the resources Drexel has to offer, no matter what your background is, you will find success in your future endeavors." Read Dip's story.

Emmanuel Henry-Ajudua, Drexel Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Rising Star

Emmanuel Henry-Ajudua, Fall 2018 Rising Star

"It's a very friendly environment. The professors push you to be the best you can be, especially academically. They don't limit everything to the classroom. They're interested in your personal life and how you're coping with the stress of school." Read Emmanuel's story.

Frederick Okoye III, Drexel Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Program Alum

Frederick Okoye III

"My experience was very positive at Drexel. The faculty was really supportive and I had a really good relationship with Dr. Gaurnier-Hausser, my professors, and most of the graduate school. I’m grateful for the confidence they instilled in me." Read Frederick's story.

Drexel Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program Rising Star Rody Alexis

Rody Alexis, Spring 2018 Rising Star

"What I really like about the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program is that it promotes this type of collaboration. The IHS program accepts students with different career interests and backgrounds, and allows them to work together." Read Rody's story.

Drexel Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program Rising Star Alaina Turchi.

Alaina Turchi, Fall 2017 Rising Star

"The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program has helped me so much and not only improved my scientific knowledge but exposed me to the field of medicine as a whole. There are so many people willing to help you succeed here, that it’s a disadvantage if you do not use them, whether it be Dr. Anita Gaurnier-Hausser and Matt Sanuck, or the professors of specific classes." Read Alaina's story.

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program student Antoinette Bell

Antoinette Bell

"The professors were the best part of the IHS program. They were very supportive, and I could tell they genuinely cared about our future. They weren’t just there to teach us and go home. They asked questions about our goals, and they helped guide us toward reaching our aspirations." Read Antoinette's story.

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program student Melissa Urquhart, IHS Rising Star, Spring 2017

Melissa Urquhart, Spring 2017 Rising Star

"The IHS program gave me the opportunity and flexibility to take classes that I am interested in and provided me the chance to figure out what I truly want to do. It gave me the ability to shadow more people in different fields and offered me more experiences. I was able to shadow a neuropsychologist and a neurologist at Drexel and a neurologist at Jefferson Hospital. My experiences in the program led me to make the final decision to pursue medicine. This program has helped build my confidence with my success in graduate level classes. This success helped me realize that I can go to medical school and perform well in those classes." Read Melissa's story.

Drexel University College of Medicine, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program student Michael Cruz.

Michael Cruz

"There’s a lot of collaboration here, and that’s kind of amazing when you consider that it’s a graduate school in a big city. You’re not all living in the same area and you’re not all on the same schedule, but as we settled in, it was a very collaborative environment. There’s a great sense of community in the program and that was great because in the health care profession you’re rarely, if ever, working on your own; you have to work with people in teams, so it was helpful to learn the curriculum that way. There is also a new mentorship program that was started by classmates of mine. This program has also helped strengthen the collaboration and facilitated the transition into our program. First-year students can sign up by providing their name, phone number and academic/career interests with the goal of being paired with a second-year student." Read Michael's story.

David Dugue, IHS Rising Star, Fall 2016

David Dugue, Fall 2016 Rising Star

"My mom was a single mom who was always working, so I did not see her much growing up. My aunt helped take care of me and she was sick with multiple sclerosis. I always wanted to make her better, but had no way to do so. My aunt and her disease sparked my first interest in medicine. In addition, my mother, aunt and godmother are all nurses so I grew up with a lot of exposure to the health care field." Read David's story.

Robert Charles Barton II

Robert Charles Barton II

"I always knew I wanted a career that married my passion for helping people and challenged my analytical skill. Toward the end of high school, I started making a list of careers that would allow me to do that, but I always went back to medicine. After I arrived at Drexel, I shadowed doctors in different specialties and that reinforced my decision to pursue a career as a physician." Read Robert's story.


Graduate students in a Interdisciplinary Health Sciences lecture at Drexel University College of Medicine.