MSBS Class of 2023
Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Houston, TX but was raised in Littleton, CO. After I graduated from Columbine High School in 2015, I attended the University of Colorado in Boulder for the first year and half of my undergraduate education, pursuing a major in Integrative Physiology. I soon realized that my heart still belonged to my first-choice school, Creighton University in Omaha, NE and transferred there my Spring semester of sophomore year. I received my bachelor's degree in Neuroscience with minors in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuropsychology as well as Biology. After graduating from Creighton in 2019, I moved back home to CO and began working as a Registered Behavior Technician with kids on the autism spectrum. As much as I loved working with those kiddos, I knew I wanted to see more clinic-setting medicine, so I started scribing for a pediatrician and later began working as a medical assistant in Dermatology to gain more patient-care experience. I worked in Dermatology for a couple of years while traveling internationally here and there before deciding I was ready to continue pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a provider. It's been a long few years filled with self-reflection and overcoming life's many obstacles, but I'm finally here in MSBS and the dream seems be getting closer and closer to reality each day!
What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
When I first started looking into what I needed to become a stronger applicant for medical school, I quickly realized my largest obstacle would be my undergraduate GPA. I started doing extensive research into different post-bachs, masters programs and any other type of degree that I could pursue to give my application the boost it needed. I looked into a couple of different programs here in Colorado since I wanted to stay close to home and to my support system, and as I went back and forth between RVU, CSU and Regis, my fiancé was working hard in the MSBS here at RVU. As he finished up the program, I realized how challenging the program was but how supportive of a community he was in and wanted that same type of positive and challenging environment for myself to not only improve my GPA, but to develop further as someone who would hopefully become a physician in the future. I submitted my application, completed a couple of different interviews with Holly in Utah as well with Dr. Towne here in CO, and before I knew it I was accepted into a program here in my own backyard that would help propel me into my lifelong dream occupation!
What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
If I am not on campus, my fiancé and I are generally at the Smoky Hill Library or at a nearby Starbucks firing through Anki and talking through difficult topics while sipping on that delicious coffee. When I am not studying however, like on weekends following block exams, you can find me online shopping, going to concerts (especially at Red Rocks), or simply chilling at home with our cats watching TV. I have recently tried picking up snowboarding this year (yes, I have lived here my entire life and never learned to ski or snowboard), so you can also find me rolling down the bunny hills as well if I’m not at home curled up with the cats!
What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
Something that people are sometimes surprised to know is that both my parents immigrated here to the states for college, so I am a first generation Turkish-American. I speak Turkish in my household, and I always try to make it back to Turkey as often as I can to see my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and the rest of my family.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
I think that one of the best pieces of advice I was given was by another student at RVU; they told me that I need to not only hear my body and what it’s trying to tell me, but to truly listen to it. You’ll hear people tell you to take care of yourself in order to avoid burnout, but I think that more than just taking care of yourself, you need to listen to yourself. Without allowing yourself the time away from studying that you need in order to be fully functioning human being while completing a rigorous academic program, you’ll find yourself feeling tired quickly. I have always been someone who gets sick the week of exams, and I think a lot of that had to do with ignoring what my body was trying to tell me up to that point. I would study 24/7, get tired, and still try to push myself to the limit, which ultimately led to me being sick by the day of the exam and I would then try to function through an exam even though my fever would be 102. Once I talked to this student and they told me to really listen to my body, I decided to give it a try. On days where I was feeling tired and slow, I would take it easy and give myself the break I needed, and the next day I would feel much more refreshed and ready to work. There is so much value in treating yourself like the human you are, and it will show in all aspects of your life whether that be personal, academic, or social.
What are your medical interests?
When I first dreamt of becoming a physician, I always thought about how wonderful it would be to be a pediatric psychiatrist and though that is still a dream I have, I am keeping my mind open. After working in dermatology for a couple of years I have toyed around with the thought of opening my own dermatology practice, but again, who knows where life will take us?
What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
I think that my favorite memory thus far from being in RVU is simply the feeling of a community that you feel while walking through the halls. There is something so incredibly special about knowing that regardless of who is walking your direction you don’t have to feel as if you cannot say hello and have a conversation with them. One of the examples that I can think of is just recently before walking into my block 4 anatomy practical. We’re all in line waiting to enter, and another student that I most certainly did not recognize came right up to me and another classmate, asked what we were waiting for, and proceeded to wish us luck and reassure us that we know this material well. It’s such a supportive and non-hostile environment like you may expect in other medical school settings, and its one that I cherish fully.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Work hard and be kind to yourself. You are in a class with so many bright students, taught by so many intelligent and brilliant professors, in a school that will provide you with the resources you need so do not ever feel like you’re alone in this. Immerse yourself fully in the material being taught and always remember to reward yourself for the work you do. Cherish the growth and the learning curves you’ll experience and use those to propel you even further. Reward yourself for the work you do and allow yourself to be human, because at the end of the day we cannot help others if we can’t help ourselves.