Hometown: West Chester, Pa.
Undergraduate: University of Pittsburgh, BA in Communications
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?
Prior to starting at Drexel, I was the Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Forest Devices, a medical device startup working to develop a stroke detection device for the prehospital setting. It was a great experience, and I developed a lot of skills that will help me in my career in medicine. I traveled to hospital systems and conferences across the country to grow and manage our clinical trials. I juggled a lot of different responsibilities, ranging from negotiating contracts to designing clinical trial strategy, documentation and protocols. However, as much as I enjoyed my work, I had always intended to become a physician. I actually applied to Drexel two years ago but deferred my admission for a final year of work at Forest Devices, before matriculating in August of 2020.
This journey started during my freshman year of college, when I made my way across the state from the Philadelphia suburbs to the University of Pittsburgh. As an undergraduate student, I conducted research at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Trauma and Critical Care during my freshman year. I continued research at UPMC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation during my last three years. During my senior year, one of the medical students who I did research with as a freshman, founded Forest Devices and offered me an internship. I worked part-time until graduation, after which I first began working full-time as a clinical coordinator.
What drew you to medicine in general, and to the College of Medicine specifically?
My desire to pursue medicine started when I was fairly young, though I can't point to any one experience that marked a turning point. Growing up, I was first exposed to medicine through my own family, particularly my grandfather, who suffered a series of strokes. That's probably what first piqued my interest, and I later completed a year-long allied health program through high school during my senior year to gain more exposure to the field. I put a lot of thought into what I wanted out of my career as I made my way through school; while there are some obvious perks to being a doctor such as job stability or salary, what really drew me to medicine was the opportunity to work with so many different people and to make a lasting, positive impact. Physicians can help lead others to live their best lives possible, whether they are working with patients and their families, or other members of the health care team.
As for Drexel itself, I was very eager to return to the Philadelphia area, which has always been home for me. Drexel has always maintained a strong presence in the community, and I appreciated that the College of Medicine takes a holistic approach to medicine and values its many elements, not just the science behind it.
Everyone is going to have a different experience, so give it your best and try to trust that things will work out in the end. Don't hold yourself to anyone else's expectations, timelines, or experiences. Write your own story, make your own way, and stay true to yourself.
How did your undergraduate studies and work experiences prepare you for medical school?
My experiences at Forest Devices will certainly help me in my clinical years of medical school and beyond, but my undergraduate science classes helped me to learn to be flexible in finding new ways to study. I’ve always studied hard, but college was a whole different ballgame than high school, and the same can be said of medical school and undergraduate education.
My path has been a bit unconventional in that I majored in Communications as an undergraduate, but those classes allowed me to pursue some other interests and helped me to build skills that will help me later in my career.
What organizations, extracurriculars, research or community service experiences have you been involved in at Drexel? How have they impacted your experience here?
I joined a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) interest group and will probably look to join some other specialty interest groups in addition to PM&R. I’d like to learn more about different career options.
I also joined The DrExcel Health program, which matches medical students with students from Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering for collaborative work. This is a nice way for me to use skills from my previous work experiences and the ones I’m learning in medical school.
I’ve been enjoying volunteering with high school students at the Franklin Learning Center; it has been a great way to get involved in the community. Starting medical school in the midst of COVID-19 hasn't been easy, and it has limited students' abilities to participate in certain experiences, but I’m looking forward to discovering some of the many other opportunities available through Drexel once the pandemic is over.
What advice would you give incoming medical students?
Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to pursue medicine. Medical school is extraordinarily challenging but, ultimately, it's a means to an end. If you've had the excitement of being accepted to medical school –congratulations. That's a big accomplishment in its own regard, but remember that there's still a long road ahead. Everyone is going to have a different experience, so give it your best and try to trust that things will work out in the end. Don't hold yourself to anyone else's expectations, timelines, or experiences. Write your own story, make your own way, and stay true to yourself.