Hometown: Hempstead, NY
Undergraduate: Binghamton University, BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?
Before attending Drexel, I took a gap year to help boost my credentials. During that year, I was able to work or volunteer in fields that I wouldn’t have had time to get involved in while I was in school. At one point I was working multiple jobs to pay for my application fees and volunteering as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for a private ambulance service. Eventually, I took up a paid EMT position and worked part time as an assistant track coach for my high school. Although being an EMT was a fulfilling experience, I’m proud that I was also able to enjoy non-medical activities during my gap year, including coaching and traveling to the Bahamas and Cuba with friends.
What drew you to medicine in general, and to the College of Medicine specifically?
Before college, being a doctor just seemed to me like a good idea, rather than the profession for me. Being raised by Jamaican immigrants, I was always taught to value education and becoming a physician was just an end result. I didn’t really get to experience the impact physicians can have, especially their impact for patients without adequate health care. My medical service trips in college and my stint as an EMT showed me how much adequate health care can make a difference in patient outcomes.
I chose Drexel because of how community-oriented the program is, especially in such a diverse area like Philadelphia. It’s important for a professional program to be involved in the surrounding community, especially when policies like redlining and disproportionate policing contribute to health disparities among members of the community.
What did you study as an undergraduate and how did it help prepare you for medical school?
I was a biology major because it was my favorite class in high school; it benefitted me in terms of time management because the prerequisites for medical school aligned with my biology electives. I was able to graduate on time and still perform well, while balancing my studies with commitments like track and field, volunteer work, and an on-campus job. It took some adjusting to the workload when I was a first-year student at Drexel, but I was able to keep on top of things thanks to tutors, advice from the class before me, and group study hours with my friends.
What organizations, extracurriculars, research, or community service experiences have you been involved in at the College of Medicine? How have they impacted your experience here?
I was the Community Service Liaison for Drexel’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and the Co-President of the Addiction Medicine Interest Group. Holding these positions allowed me to expand upon my interests in community involvement and pain management. I was also on the Admissions Committee, which allowed me to be part of the process in choosing students from the applicant pool who I felt would best represent Drexel in the incoming class. These experiences allowed me to be involved and establish myself in the Drexel community.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about pursuing a medical degree?
I always remind myself why I wanted to attend medical school. Knowing your “why” will ultimately answer other questions such as what type of physician you’ll be, where you want to practice, and what you will do on your journey. I have a support group of friends and family that I can count on to support me. Although I do get busy, I prioritize hobbies or downtime that I had established before medical school. It’s important to have outlets outside of schoolwork; it’s the only way to prevent burnout and to preserve your mental health.