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Meet MD Program Student Colleen Franconi

Colleen Franconi, Drexel MD Program Student


Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Undergraduate: University of Tampa; BS Biochemistry
Graduate: Rutgers University, MS in Biomedical Studies
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine Class of 2020


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

Before I came to Drexel, I worked in a genetics research lab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for five years. I initially had planned to take one year off of school, but before I knew it, five years had passed. At that point, I was not sure I knew how to be a student anymore, so I attended Rutgers University and obtained a master's degree prior to applying to medical school.

When did you know that you wanted to become a doctor?

I do not really remember a time when I did not want to be a doctor. Even while working, it was always the end goal. Similar to a lot of medical students or applicants, I experienced events such as illnesses and deaths in my life that solidified that decision over and over again.

Do you know what kind of medicine you'd like to specialize in?

Yes and no. It has changed a few times. For years I thought I wanted to do pediatric infectious disease. I have not completely given up on that, but right now I am leaning more toward emergency medicine. I have the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) scholarship, and I really want to do something that is needed more to help the men and women who serve. Emergency medicine is crucial in the military, particularly in times of conflict, so I feel like specializing in it would be the most beneficial.

What made you apply to Drexel's medical school?

Several things initially attracted me to Drexel. First, every doctor I knew that graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) had such good things to say about the school. Overall, they all thought they received a great medical education and training. I was eager to receive the same training. Drexel teaches its students the importance of empathy and compassion in medicine which to me is crucial in becoming the physician I want to be. Another reason was Drexel's involvement in the community. Between Healthcare Outreach Project (HOP) clinics and other community service programs at Drexel, I thought this was a place I would really enjoy.

How has the program been going so far?

So far, the program has been great. There are definitely challenging days or weeks, but medical school is not meant to be easy. I am extremely thankful that I have been given the opportunity to study at Drexel.

What is your relationship like with the faculty?

The faculty that I have had the opportunity to speak with or learn from, are great. You can really tell the professors want to teach and want you to learn. I have had experiences in my education in the past where it was obvious a professor hated teaching, but it is not like that here. I think as long as you have a great attitude about learning and ask for help when needed, the faculty go out of their way to help.

What is your relationship like with your fellow classmates?

Overall, I would like to think my relationship with my classmates is positive. Our class is over 200 students, so it is hard to know everyone in the class. I think sometime during first year you meet people in your small groups, friends of friends, or people in your specialty interest group, and that is who you mostly study with and hang out with during the next two years. Clinical years are already a little different. I am on rotations now with people I knew were in my graduation class but did not really know to talk to, so in that regard I am still meeting my classmates three years later.

What have your clinical rotations been like?

I just finished week two of clinical rotations. So far, I love them. There is a huge learning curve going from the classroom to the hospitals, but it has been great. I started on Labor and Delivery and then went into Night Float, so my experience thus far has been exhausting. Thankfully, my military training last summer taught me how to function on minimal sleep. It is surreal to be done with the classroom portion of my education after 20 or so years and finally be doing what I have worked so hard to achieve.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities, such as volunteering or clubs?

Drexel has a club for everything, so it is very hard not to be involved in something. This past year, I was one of the presidents of the Military Medicine Organization, I was a regular at the The Arc of Philadelphia and I was a member of Beating Hearts, which is an organization that teaches CPR and its importance to middle school children. I also was a student interviewer for admissions and served as a peer mentor—both as a "big" with our big/little program and as a member of the advising program.

How is living in Philadelphia?

I enjoy living in Philadelphia, mostly because it is home to me. I have my family here with my nieces and nephews to play with when I need a stress reliever, or I can visit my parents' house when I need a meal that I do not have to cook. It is also a very diverse city. There is typical city life with bars and museums, but there are also places to hike and enjoy the scenery.

What advice do you have for someone who is considering coming to Drexel for medical school?

It's important to realize how many applicants Drexel receives every year, which allows them to be selective in who they choose to accept. Having said that, if they accept you, it means administration thinks you can succeed. It will not be easy, and it is a lot of work, but it is worth it. I appreciate the opportunity I have been given and love how far I have come in this process. It is something I am thankful for every day. Like most things in life, medical school is what you make of it, and as long as you have a good attitude during the process you will succeed.

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Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
60 N. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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