Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Undergraduate: BS in Biology, Loyola Marymount University
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?
I spent most of my childhood in the Philippines, a tropical country located in Southeast Asia, where I went to Saint Pedro Poveda College for high school. My life in the Philippines was filled with many insightful and wonderful experiences, as I was brought up in a family and school system that emphasized the values of service and being one with my community. After high school, I moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University (LMU) as a biology major. I greatly enjoyed my experience at LMU, since it gave me many opportunities to explore my academic interests in the sciences while having the time to engage in extracurricular activities like research and volunteering.
During the pandemic, I lived with my family in Guam and have continued to stay with them during my senior year of college. While at home, I have kept myself busy by trying out new hobbies like painting and attempting to learn other languages.
What drew you to medicine in general, and to the College of Medicine specifically?
Growing up in the Philippines and studying at LMU, I was consistently involved in service, and what drew me to medicine were the eye-opening experiences I had working with physicians and members of my community. I found that medicine was one of the careers that would give me the opportunity to not only treat, empower and console patients, but also take an active role in leading health care initiatives that would support my community.
What specifically drew me to the College of Medicine were the many opportunities to actively engage with the local community, as well as the amount of support I would have from other students, faculty and staff throughout my medical education. In addition, while choosing a medical school, it was important for me to have time to meet with family or friends, and be able explore other interests beyond medicine. At Drexel, the curriculum has been structured to encourage students to manage their academic interests while also pursuing other hobbies and having a social life.
How do you think your undergraduate studies, and any work, research or continuing education experiences you had prior to medical school, will prepare you for this next step in your academic career?
As a biology major at LMU, I was involved in microbiology research and took classes such as comparative animal physiology and advanced genetics. I believe that my experiences at LMU have greatly helped me prepare for the academic rigor of medical school. The challenging upper division courses I took as an undergraduate have shaped my work ethic and productive study habits, which will hopefully help me as I begin to take classes in medical school.
Furthermore, my experiences of volunteering and shadowing physicians at clinics in the Philippines, Guam and Los Angeles have shown me how to build trusting relationships with patients and the importance of those relationships in promoting effective patient care. I believe that the knowledge I have gained through these involvements will help me in the Foundations of Patient Care class, where medical students practice their communication, interviewing and physical exam skills.
Both of your parents are physicians. How did that shape your interest in medicine, if at all? Do you think it will help to have their insight as you go through medical school?
Despite both of my parents being physicians, they didn’t necessarily encourage or discourage my desire to pursue a career in medicine – they were always supportive with any career I was interested in. The way they have helped shape my interest in medicine, however, is by telling me about their journeys to become physicians in the United States after immigrating from the Philippines. The stories they shared, and my involvement in community service since grade school, were some of the factors that sparked my interest and amazement in the medical field.
I believe that my parents' insights will definitely help me as I go through medical school. Since expressing my desire and motivation to become a physician, I have been very grateful to hear their perspectives and experiences as medical professionals. In addition, I believe that hearing their insights and life lessons from their time as medical students would help motivate me throughout my medical school journey.
You tutor music in your spare time. Do you feel that there's a relationship between music and medicine?
Yes, I believe that there is a relationship between music and medicine. During my undergraduate education, I spent about three years volunteering as a music tutor for grade school and middle school children. Over time, I saw the beneficial effects that learning music had on the social and mental health of my students, and mental health is important when it comes to an individual's overall health outcomes. I found that talking and learning about music gave many of the children an opportunity to interact with others who have similar musical interests and provided a way for them to relax after school in a productive manner.
What advice would you give to current medical school applicants?
The medical school application cycle can be stressful, challenging and overwhelming. It can be easy to lose your way, but don’t forget to motivate yourself by remembering why you want to go to medical school. In addition, it is very important to make sure that you take the time to de-stress by resting, engaging in hobbies you enjoy, and being with others who genuinely care about you!