RVU Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences - MSBS


Radonis Grissom
MSBS Class of 2021
Colorado Campus
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate studies:
Valdosta State University, BS-Chemistry (2011)

Graduate studies:
Valdosta State University, MAT-Secondary Education (2013)

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm an Air Force veteran, former high school AP chemistry teacher, current husband, long-time uncle, and second-oldest of four siblings.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?

I was originally introduced to RVU by a community college professor in 2019 while completing post-bacc coursework as a career-changer. The professor was very supportive and adamant that I pursue every avenue possible to achieve my goal of becoming a physician, so I began researching the RVU MSBS program. In spring 2020, I attended an open house event where I had the opportunity to converse with Dr. Towne and Dr. Roberts directly to discuss my goals, my background, my weaknesses, and current progress toward medicine. As a career changer, my academic history looks quite different from "typical" medical school applicants, I knew that I needed a structured program to prepare for the rigors of medical education. After lengthy conversation, it was clear to me that the program faculty would invest as much into me as I would invest in the program and they genuinely wanted to help me reach my goals. I went home that afternoon, talked it over with my wife, and we decided to submit the application to RVU for the MSBS program--and here I am today!

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
My wife and I enjoy visiting new cities, going on cruises (not so much right now since we're all living the pandemic life), and playing with our dog, Remy. As with most people in CO, in the winter months I ski if I can find time; in the warmer months, I enjoy taking Remy to different off-leash dog parks, going on long, aimless drives, and finding interesting hikes across CO. I also enjoy sudoku, mechanical puzzles, and nature documentaries.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
My freshman year of college, I lost almost all the skin on my face, neck, and left forearm & hand due to a fire incident (think Two-Face from Batman, but both sides of my face). Amazingly, I didn't require any skin grafting and now its barely noticeable unless I point it out. Stop, drop, and roll really does help if you're engulfed in flames!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
I was told to "speak up & speak out because people listen when you speak and learn from what you share."

What are your medical interests?
My current interests are interventional radiology, cardiology, OB/GYN, ophthalmology, PM&R, and anesthesia. Honestly, as I gain more exposure, I may encounter a specialty that "sweeps me off my feet," so I'm realistically approaching my journey with as much of an open mind as I can muster.
Aside from "medical" medicine, I'm an advocate for reducing health disparities in the Black community; I believe the key to addressing these disparities is rooted in equitable education (medical school, residency, fellowship, conferences, etc.) and diverse representation. We all have a responsibility in remediating our society to facilitate better healthcare for all patients

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My favorite memory so far was the student-led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit. The forum afforded many the opportunity to learn from each other and thoughtful guest speakers. Individuals from varying backgrounds were very open about their experiences, implicit biases, and self-identified blind spots in a way that highlighted humility and sincere engagement with a sensitive topic. Additionally, the engagement of faculty and RVU administrators demonstrated institution-level investment and genuine dedication to being part of the solution in today's dynamic, constantly evolving healthcare landscape.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Research, research, research! A graduate degree, especially one as challenging as the MSBS, is a major commitment and investment. Learn as much as you can about the programs and if possible, attend open house events and speak with program faculty & current students directly. Also, remember to be kind to yourself because the road to becoming a physician, PA, NP, dentist, etc. is tough and it looks different for everyone, so try not to compare your progress to others too often

Ricky Oshakuade
MSBS Class of 2021
Hometown: Wichita, KS
Why did you choose the MSBS Program?
I chose the MSBS program because of the curriculum which provided a thorough coverage of the foundational knowledge we will be learning in the college of medicine. Additionally, the culture of curiosity that is cultivated by the students and faculty further supported my decision in choosing the MSBS program.

What do you like most about RVU MSBS Program?
What I like most about the MSBS program is the culture of curiosity and the ways that the faculty encourage us to ask questions and grow inside and outside of the classroom.

What are your medical interests?
Emergency Medicine

What are your plans after completing the RVU MSBS Program?
Attending RVUCOM and specializing in Emergency Medicine.

What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy outdoor biking, videography, and cooking.

Why did you opt for Osteopathic Medicine?
I chose osteopathic medicine for its holistic approach to medicine. To me, it makes the most sense to view the body as one unit of mind, body, and spirit when providing patient care. Additionally, I was drawn to the ways that osteopathic medicine focuses on preventative care.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice for prospective students would be to use every semester as a platform for growth not only as a student but outside of the classroom as well. In your pursuit to becoming a healthcare provider, working for good grades is just as important as working on your character outside of the classroom. Your future patients will remember you more so based off of your character rather than solely based upon your medical knowledge.

Adriana Perez
MSBS Class of 2019
Hometown: Carbondale, Colorado
Are you glad you chose the RVU MSBS Program and why?
I am very privileged to be able to be a part of the MSBS program. This program has not only prepared me academically,  but it has also helped me develop stronger study habits, become a better learner and really develop strong time management skills.

What do you like most about RVU MSBS Program?
My favorite thing about RVU are the professors because they are so passionate, so caring, so enthusiastic about their field, and are always available to help. Their energy and passion make going to class fun!

How is the RVU MSBS Program helping you reach your future goals?
The MSBS program has helped me learn how to be a better test-taker, which has always been one of my biggest weaknesses. I have always struggled with doing well on standardized tests like the ACT or the MCAT. This program has helped me identify specific weaknesses in this area and find different strategies to address those weaknesses.

What are your plans after completing the RVU MSBS Program?
I plan on starting medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the fall.

What advice do you have for incoming MSBS students?
This program will be very challenging, and there will be times in which you doubt yourself or your abilities to get through it. As the program continues, you will see how important the information that you are learning is, and how this program is truly setting you up for a successful healthcare career. The professors and staff here truly care about each and every student, so don’t ever be afraid to ask for help!

How is the fact that the MSBS Program is affiliated with a medical school influenced your education?
This affiliation has provided the space for me to interact with medical students in many different ways. Medical students are always willing to answer questions about RVU, medical school in general, and OPP. Our tutors are also medical students, and they go above and beyond to help us understand the material and to support us through this program in any way that they can.

What is your favorite class currently and why?
My favorite class is the Molecular Basis of Medicine course because we are always being encouraged to think outside the box and challenge what we think we know as students/scientists.


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