Tufts Pre-Health

Anecdotes and advice about preparing for a career in health

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 4)

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Six students shared their experiences from their summer health-related opportunities at our annual panel in early December.

Wilna Paulemon (Child Development, ’18) spent her summer at the University of Michigan Summer Enrichment Program (UMSEP) in Health Management and Policy.  Her tip is to read the Health- E Newsletter because this is where she saw this internship posted.

Andy Nguyen (Cognitive and Brain Science ’19) went to Rwanda with Tufts Hillel for ten days after the end of spring semester.  He then returned to the camp for children with developmental, social, and learning disabilities in Upstate New York called Ramapo For Children where he had worked the previous summer.  Andy’s tip is to be open-minded as you look for opportunities since you might be surprised at how valuable an experience can be.

Madeleine Gene (Biopsych, ’17) worked in staff support in a paid position at Memorial Sloan Kettering  in NYC.  She knew that they hired from a neighbor who worked there.  Her tip is to start looking early during Winter Break so you have time to research and apply.

Sean Boyden (Biology and Community Health, ’17) did research in the Starks lab last summer.  He had experience in the lab earlier and applied with Professor Starks for a Summer Scholars position which he received. Sean’s tip is to not to be afraid to reach out to faculty for research/internship experiences, and to foster a good relationship with your mentors/supervisors as they will be the people you’ll rely on to write your letters of recommendation.

Melanie Ramirez (Biology and Community Health, ’19) did a six week internship known as SMDEP now SHPEP link at UCLA medical school. When she returned home she also worked at a pediatric oncology summer camp http://okizu.org .  Her tip is start early and apply to a wide variety of internships so that  you can have more options.

Nellie Agosta (Biology, ’17) developed an opportunity for herself and applied for the Career Center grant  to get paid for it.  She again called a contact that could not help her the previous summer.  This time the contact could help her and referred her to a researcher at Mass General Hospital. Her tip is to be persistent and don’t give up just because you get a no the first time.

Reflections from the Tufts MAPS Graduate Programs Event

On Friday, November 4th, the Tufts Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) organized a Graduate Program visit to the health sciences campus in Downtown Boston. This event was hosted by the Tufts’ health professions schools, and provided undergraduate students with the opportunity to learn about the different degrees and health professions available to them after college. About twenty students from the Medford/ Somerville campus were able to attend this session and speak with representatives from the Tufts University medical school, dental school, Friedman school of nutrition, and Sackler school of biomedical sciences, allowing for a smaller and more intimate group discussion with the presenters. Initial introductions revealed that most attendees were first-and-second-year undergraduate students with a variety of professional interests, including clinical research, dentistry, and public health policy. However, students were also excited to learn that the Boston campus offers many dual degree programs across these schools, and that students enrolled in each school have many opportunities to interact and collaborate with one another. After this introductory session, professionals and current students at the school offered tours in the medical and dental school campus (the two campuses are connected with skyways!), and students had an opportunity to meet admissions members and ask about the programs available.

4/12/10 - Boston, Mass. -  The newly renovated facade of the M&V building on the Health Sciences Campus on Monday, April 12, 2010. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University Photo)

Jonah Tanguay-Colucci, a Junior at Tufts University and an attendee at the event, reflects on his experiences:

“I think the most important thing I learned as a freshman was that medicine is much more than doctors, and that watching Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy or the like doesn’t at all tell you whether medicine is right for you. When I went on the MAPS trip to Tufts Medical Center I was reminded of these early lessons in my Tufts education. The tours were standard and the facilities were of course amazing. But what struck me most was the emphasis that medicine is a career centered around people, service, and civic leadership. It was wonderful to see that all the respective departments at the health sciences campus were there and were given equal time to talk about the opportunities available, and the importance of diversity across all the many health related professions. As a junior the speeches were many of the things I’ve heard before, but nonetheless I was impressed at the depth and the point that an interest in medicine does not necessitate a linear path to an MD. There are other ways to get there (master’s in biomedical sciences, doing work in public health, master’s in nutrition sciences) and there are other professions in the healthcare field that are rewarding and may be better suited depending on what you want out of your career in medicine.

When I was a freshman I knew I wantIMG_2991ed to work in medicine, and that first and foremost I wanted a role where I really got to interact with the patient. Thanks to the amazing programs that Tufts sponsors, my world was expanded and I saw that there were many other opportunities to be explored. In the end the right choice for me was to change my track to Physician Assistant, because my primary interest was working with people, and seeing patients. As the various health science schools spoke to the group and took questions I was excited to see so many freshmen leaping at the chance to learn more about what healthcare really is and what is available. The various representatives talked a lot about getting your hands dirty in the field, and doing some heavy soul searching to make sure that medicine is right for you. Working in healthcare can be a rewarding career, but it is not necessarily an easy path to take. The time to ask the questions and explore what it is you truly want is now. You don’t want to be asking yourself whether you really like working with people when you see your first patients in the 3rd year of medical school, after investing 7 years of your life. That’s why groups like MAPS, and events like the Tufts Health Science Campus visit are so important. Even if you think you know what you want to do there is no harm in going to an event and approaching a nurse practitioner direct entry table, an occupational therapy table, a doctor of osteopathic medicine table. Exploring the many opportunities in the health field will help strengthen your convictions in the path you wish to take, and better prepare you for your future career in medicine.”IMG_2994

We would like to thank all the students who attended, as well as the wonderful staff and students from the Boston campus who were gracious enough to host this special event for the Tufts undergrads. We hope that opportunities like this continue opening new doors for students early on in their college careers, especially for minority students on campus who are interested in health-related careers. Please stay tuned for other MAPS events we have planned for this year!

Saki Kitadai and Jonah Tanguay-Colucci

My Crusade – Changing Gap Year to Growth Year

Did you know that about 70% of Tufts students who go on to medical school take time after college prior to beginning their medical education? If that idea scares you – what would I do, how can I get a job without experience, won’t med schools wonder if I am really motivated? – join the club. Many undergraduates are anxious about taking “time off.”

But there are many different opportunities out there for personal growth as well as the enrichment of your medical school candidacy. That is why I like to refer to the time as a Growth Year rather than Gap Year which implies hollow, empty waste. couchPotatoI have rarely seen a student waste their time after college and most have amazing experiences that teach them more about the world, often the healthcare system, and certainly themselves. They bring this experience, awareness and new competencies to their appliPuzzlePiececation process. It shows up in their essays and in their interviews. We have enjoyed talking with alums about the things they have done during their growth years and sometimes can refer current students to those same opportunities.

Would you like to hear some of them? Join us Wednesday, October 12th in the Milmore Room (740) in Dowling Hall at 6:30PM.  Five Tufts alums who are currently applying to medical school will be with us to share their experiences and answer your questions. Hope to see you there.

Growth Year Alumni Panel – 2016

Rachel Weinstock
B.A. in Anthropology and Community Health
Spring 2015 Graduate

Princeton in Latin America Fellow 2015-16

Carolina Villalba
B.S. in Biology
Spring 2016 Graduate

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Scholar

Shaunt Fereshetian
B.S. in Biopsychology
Spring 2014 Graduate

Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard Research Associate

Ashley Siegel
B.S. in Biopsychology
Spring 2015 Graduate

Tufts Medical Center, Mother Infant Research Institute, Research Assistant

Geetha Mahendran
B.A. in Biochemistry
May 2016 Graduate
Medical Assistant at Harvard Vanguard


Why look for a Mentor?

I started off my freshman year, like many do, eager to get involved on campus. Being premed, Tufts Premedical Society seemed like an obvious group to join. I learned about the Mentorship Program in the initial meetings. To be quite honest, I just joined the program because I saw a lot of other freshmen joining it. I did not have much hope because I am majoring in biomedical engineering and I assumed that most of the mentors would be science majors, so they wouldn’t be helpful in my situation. To my surprise, I was matched with a mentor that was also majoring in biomedical engineering.

My mentor became one of my greatest sources and truly helped me get through my freshman year. I had so many questions on decisions to make, classes to take, extracurricular activities, etc. and who better to ask then someone who had already been through everything that I was experiencing. In my case, I really needed help on how to juggle engineering with premed. In our first few meetings, my mentor and I mapped out when I would take all of my classes. He analyzed what credits I already had coming in and what classes I needed to take for for my premed and engineering requirements. There were so many classes that were sequential or that had to be taken before a certain time, especially if I wanted to take the MCAT my junior or senior year. I was extremely confused and stressed out about how I would make everything work. My mentor made the whole process easier by explaining to me what choices I had and by helping me make the best decisions for me.

Also, many of my rePreHealth Mentorsrequirements could be filled with a myriad of classes. I had no idea which classes would best fit my interests. So I talked to my mentor, the other mentors, and the board members. They told me about some of their favorite classes and gave me an idea about what the workload for the class would be like, as well as the teaching style of the professor. This was such a life saver. Having so many peers with first-hand accounts of classes was a great way for me to understand which classes would best fit my needs.

Additionally, my mentor shared with me a list of possibilities for extracurricular activities, many of which incorporated biomedical engineering. I had become interested in starting to do research and he gave me details about the research track for biomedical engineers, as well as the pros and cons of doing so. I also had considered trying to get involved with research on campus, so I talked to him, as well as some of the other mentors and board members that were doing research at Tufts. They informed me of who I should contact, as well as a little bit about the different research projects going on. (Check out departmental websites such as this).  This way if I was presented with options for a team to work with, I could choose the research project that best encompassed my interests. My mentor also got me thinking that working as a CNA could be an experience that I might enjoy, as well as learn a lot from. This was something that had interested me, but I was still nervous about whether this would be a good fit for me and if it would be a good use of my summer break. His encouragement played a huge part in helping me decide to go through with my decision to work as a CNA, which I can attest to being a great option for someone who is premed.

In addition to all of this, my mentor provided me with someone who I could talk to about what I was going through. There are not many people on the premed track majoring in the same field as I am, so having someone to talk to and to give me advice was very comforting. It was honestly so nice to have someone who I could vent to and who understood how I was feeling, but had already been in my position, to assure me that things would be just fine. Freshman year for a premed student can be difficult and overwhelming, but having my mentor by my side made the experience a lot less stressful!

If you are interested in joining the mentorship program as a mentee you can sign up online at https://goo.gl/forms/5lLygyynKIvG7Hlm2. If you would like to join as a mentor you can sign up online at https://goo.gl/forms/5W1XsQx9A2hlphW33.


Sakshi Wadhwa BME ‘19


Welcome Returning Students and New Students!

Welcome Returning and New Students!

Your pre-health advising team looks forward to working with you in the coming year and supporting you as you explore and prepare for the health professions.

Who are we?

Dean Carol Baffi-Dugan is Director of Health Professions Advising (also one of the alpha deans)

Stephanie Ripley is Associate Director (also Program Director of Pre-Law Advising)

Rachael Mattull is Program Coordinator

Where are we?
Dowling Suite 710

Be sure to sign up for our weekly Health-E News here on the homepage of our website: Go.tufts.edu/prehealth

Our website can also answer questions such as
*what are the prereqs for dental school?
*how can I find volunteer opportunities?
*can I study abroad if I am a pre-health student?

Meeting with us:

You can make appointments to see one of the advisors (Carol or Stephanie) one week in advance by calling 617-627-2000.  Coming soon – online appointment scheduling.

We also have open hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-4 PM with a sign-up sheet for 15 minute slots that goes out at 1:30 that day.


Hope to see you soon in the office or at an event.


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