Hometown: Hercules, CA
Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley, BS in Molecular and Cell Biology
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine Class of 2021
Can you tell me a little about yourself before you came to Drexel?
I'm a California Bay Area native. Moving to Philadelphia was my first time leaving that bubble, and it's been an exciting adventure so far. I'm also a first generation Filipino-American, which I'm very proud of. The combination of my heritage and my environment created an amazing multicultural upbringing. I knew that both school and community diversity would be a key factor in deciding which medical school I wanted to attend, and that led me to Drexel. After undergrad, I took some time to work in the clinical field so that I could solidify whether or not medicine was right for me. I'm grateful for that experience because it helped me to build my foundation as a future physician and further shaped my personal values.
When did you know that you wanted to become a doctor?
It was always in the back of my head toward the end of high school, but I didn't want to box myself into that field during college. I explored other areas, including business, economics and epidemiology research, but eventually I became a bit more serious about medicine around the summer before my senior year of college. As I mentioned earlier, I took time off after college to work in the clinical field because I wanted to be sure that this was what I really wanted to do, and I haven't looked back since.
Do you know what kind of medicine you'd like to specialize in?
Similar to how I felt in my early undergraduate career, I don't want to box myself into a specific specialty just yet. I'm fascinated by a lot of fields, and if you catch me after shadowing one specialty, I'd likely say, "Wow, I'd love to specialize in this." But then come the next round of shadowing in another specialty, I'd probably say the same thing again.
What made you apply to Drexel's medical school?
For lack of a better word, it was the school's "vibe." When I arrived on campus and met the staff, students and my potential future classmates, I felt at ease, like I was at home. Everyone was welcoming, and I remember leaving my interview day with a goofy smile on my face. Diversity was also very important to me, and I feel that Drexel not only supports that, but also celebrates it on their campus and within the Philadelphia community.
How has the program been going so far?
So far so good. In the beginning, I felt a little overwhelmed with all of the information being thrown at me even though I had anticipated it, but it was comforting to know that I wasn't the only student in that boat. My classmates and I lean on one another for support, especially during exam week. I also appreciate how receptive the faculty has been to our feedback on the curriculum. There's a common understanding that we are both going through this new curriculum together and that there's always room for improvement.
What is your relationship like with the faculty?
It's great! They're easily approachable and accessible whenever I have questions on class material. They genuinely care about your success as a student and future physician, and it's evident in all the conversations I've had with various professors.
What is your relationship like with your fellow classmates?
A lot of my classmates are easy-going and fun. Everyone is friendly, so even if I only met a classmate very briefly once before, we always end up saying "hi" and conversing when we pass by each other on campus. I've made great friends in my class who are—outside of being awesome study buddies—always up to exploring what Philly has to offer, whether it's food, concerts, or much-needed coffee.
How do you like living in Philadelphia?
I've been living in South Philly over the past year, and I love it. It has this nice balance between a small and big city feel, and everything is within decent walking distance of me, which is great because I didn't bring a car with me. Don't get me started on the restaurant scene because it is insanely good!
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities, such as volunteering or clubs?
I volunteer for Mothers and Baby Dragons, which is a program that aims to support mothers from underserved backgrounds during their pregnancy, and I run with the Back on My Feet organization. I am also a smoking cessation counselor for various Healthcare Outreach Project (HOP) Clinics, and some of my friends and I recently founded the Filipin@ American Medical Student Association.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering coming to Drexel for medical school?
Take a tour of the campus to get a feel of Drexel's culture for yourself, and don't hesitate to reach out to one of the faculty or current medical students to hear their experiences. More often than not, I'm sure you'll hear positive things. Additionally, reflect on what kind of person and/or student you are. Drexel promotes a collaborative experience in their curriculum, so you get cozy and work a lot with your fellow classmates in various group settings. If that sounds like something you're interested in, then check us out!