PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS CURRENT STUDENTS FACULTY/STAFF ALUMNI COMMUNITY                                    
RVU Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences - MSBS

MSBS STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Tanisha Crosby-Attipoe
MSBS Class of 2022
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
Highlands Ranch

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Neuroscience

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in California but grew up here in Colorado! I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Cognitive Neuroscience with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Denver. I have wanted to be a physician since I was a kid, but my road to medicine took a few minor turns. Before attending the MSBS program, I worked as a clinical research assistant in two different neuroscience labs. One focusing on how stress impacts brain development in children and adolescences, and the other studying how patients regulate stress and their emotions. Afterwards, I spent some time working as a clinical scribe in various emergency departments across the Denver Metro area.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
My mentor recommended RVU to me! She was one of the physicians I assisted during my time working in the ER. She witnessed my struggles of getting into medical school, and thought it could benefit me. Because I had been out of school for several years, I decided to pursue this degree knowing that it would give me the skills and study habits needed to be successful in med school. After looking into the masters program at RVU, talking with former MSBS students, and attending a couple of their online information sessions, I decided to take my mentor's advice and apply to the program.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
In my spare time, I enjoy the going to live concerts, painting, watching movies, and being outdoors. I love traveling around the world (Japan, Peru, Nicaragua, Ghana, etc.), learning new languages, and spending time with family and friends.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
A little known fact about me is that I am a first generation American! My parents immigrated to the United States in the late 80s. I still have extended family members living all over the world!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Don't be afraid to change things up when it comes to how you study! What works for you in one course may not be ideal in another. Be open to trying new methods to integrate your learning. Also, be sure to take time for yourself whether that be your favorite self-care regimen, maintaining your hobbies, and getting a decent amount of sleep. Just like Dr. Robert says before every exam, "sleeping is preparing." And most importantly, give yourself grace. Don't compare yourself to your classmates and have confidence in your abilities because you do know more than you think come exam day!

What are your medical interests?
I have many medical interests! Some of them include pediatrics, emergency medicine, global medicine, gastroenterology, and psychiatry.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My favorite memories during my time in the MSBS program includes the white coat ceremony, my first standardized patient encounter, and forming close friendships with my classmates.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
The MSBS program here at RVU lays the foundation that you will need to get through medical school. This program is very challenging but it will grow you in so many ways. Word hard and be sure to utilize the resources that are available to you. And don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it!!! The faculty here are wonderful and they want you to succeed in whatever career path you choose. Furthermore, use this time to figure out how to balance life both in and out of the classroom. Getting into a routine now will make transitioning into medical school so much smoother.



Carson Bomstad
MSBS Class of 2022
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2022
Southern Utah Campus
Hometown:
Earlville, IL

Undergraduate studies:
Molecular Neuroscience

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Earlville, IL which is a small rural town with about 1500 people. Earlville is where I have lived my whole life as well as many of my close family members. This is very special to me because family is so important to me and I was able to grow up so close to everyone! My father is a Civil Engineer, and my mother is the Vice President of Nursing (CNO) of two rural hospitals in Illinois. I also have two brothers who I am very close with and they are my best friends! Growing up I was very into sports, especially volleyball and basketball. I played all through high school and I was given the opportunity to play in collegiate volleyball at North Central College in Naperville, IL. This is where I received my bachelors degree in Molecular Neuroscience. I also love spending time with kids and I was a nanny in college!

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was very interested in the masters program at RVU because I knew I needed to learn how to study more efficiently and to develop better study habits. This was the perfect opportunity for me to do both as well as meet so many new people! I really enjoyed my interview which is what drew me to this program the most. I loved how much of a family atmosphere the school had and I could tell the professors cared so much about me and they would help me achieve my goals.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I am very close with my family so I love spending time with them! It is hard living so far away from them so I plan lots of FaceTime calls. I also love going to the lake, swimming, water skiing, kayaking, hiking, really anything outdoors. I also love to relax sometimes and binge watch a Netflix show.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I can slalom water ski!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Do not compare yourself to others and find what works best for you to learn the material. Everyone starts the program at different levels and has different backgrounds, so it is important to remember, "you are meant to be here in this program and you are capable to succeeding".

What are your medical interests?
Pediatrics

What is a favorite memory you have from being at RVU?
All of the hikes that I have gone on with my classmates! I found this to be a great way to get to know everyone outside of class as well as see the beautiful area! It was also a great study break and good to get outside and get some exercise.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
This is a very fast pace and challenging program, so it is important to make sure that you keep up with the material. Make sure you put in the time to study, but also to have fun! It is so important to take breaks and time away for studying to clear your head so you do not get burnt out. Lastly, enjoy your time in this program and find what study habits work best for you!



Charles Mayhew
MSBS Class of 2022
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2022
Colorado Campus
Hometown:
Lakewood, CO

Undergraduate studies:
University of Colorado Boulder

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up with two older siblings and am a child of deaf adults (CODA), which has allowed me to be immersed in both hearing culture and Deaf culture. Being with my family has been important for me and they've always been supportive of me. Aside from them I have one cat who is as much of a handful as he wants to be at any given moment. I graduated from CU Boulder in 2018 with a degree in Integrative Physiology and took the last few years off to get working experience, most notably having finished up at Creekside Physical Medicine.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I had a friend that actually just completed her PA degree at RVU and from her I decided to look into their DO program. Everything I found out about RVU drew me to want to apply to their DO program. When I actually applied I ended up being denied because I hadn't met the requirements for admission; however, I also knew that there was a Master's program offered and decided to look into it. Working at Creekside over the past few years, Dr. Tanner and everyone in the clinic helped to show me that I had the ambition and confidence to succeed in a medical program and they encouraged me to apply. I decided that this would be the best route especially because my study strategies and academic record didn't reflect what I could do, and this would allow me to really prove that I can handle a rigorous path such as one in medicine.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
When I'm not studying with my cohort I try to make time to rest and spend time with my family. My siblings and I chat almost every day and we've always been pretty connected with each other. I also try to stay connected with my friends and I have a close group that I talk with weekly if possible. I also like to go on runs and rock climb, having been doing it for about four years or so.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons for almost a decade. For a lot of that I've actually been the dungeon master for one of my groups, which is kind of like the storyteller for the entire thing. I really wouldn't be able to do anything if it weren't for the friends that I play with and the story only builds because of them, so the real credit has to go to them!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
The best piece of advice that I've been given has been to always take some time for myself, regardless of how intense the work is in the moment. This might be to just go home and take two hours away from studying, going out with some of the friends I've made in the program, or even just working out for a bit. Afterwards I feel more energetic and have been able to avoid a lot of burnout that could've occurred, especially with how full this program can be sometimes.

What are your medical interests?
My goal is to get into a DO program, particularly the one at RVU. I'm keeping my interests with specialties pretty open but have been exposed to a few that I've liked a lot, including immunology, endocrinology, and oncology. I'm not committed to any one of these things overall though because part of me knows this could change as I start going on rotations and really seeing what I enjoy and work well with.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
What I would advise to prospective students is that you're not alone in this program and there's no lack of resources and support available. The course is rigorous and you're going to be working together with an entire class of people who you can learn from to succeed together. As a student going down your graduate degree path, everything is built off of teamwork. You learn from every professor you work with, from the mentors that will assist you, and every other student in your class and the school itself.



Caleb Wagner
MSBS Class of 2022
Southern Utah Campus

Hometown:
Fargo, North Dakota

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Fargo, ND and went to school in Mankato, MN. I enjoy playing sports and have played various sports throughout my life, Hockey being my favorite. Before the MSBS program I was a GM at a Gym in Mankato, MN where I also was Crossfit and Olymic lifting coach, which I absolutely loved! I have a passion for overall health and wellness through nutrition, exercise, and education.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was not the greatest student in undergrad, I had poor study habits and poor study techniques. I knew that I needed to learn how to efficiently handle the heavy workload of Medical school. The MSBS program was the perfect opportunity to learn this! The program taught me how study how to excel with a heavy workload and gave me a strong background going into medical school.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I enjoy working out and am currently doing CrossFit and Olympic Lifting in St. George. I love outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, snowboarding, and fishing. I also love getting together with friends and grilling out and playing board games.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I can bake an exceptional Tres Leches Cake!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
"Enjoy the process! It goes faster than you think!" - Dr. Ben Brooks

What are your medical interests?
I'm interested in Orthopedic Surgery specializing in Sports Medicine

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Playing Ping-Pong in the Cafe on study breaks!

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Find a good study partner or small group of people (no more than 3 people) to work together on difficult topics. This process is mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging so having a good team beside you makes the process much more manageable and enjoyable.



Jency Koshy
MSBS Class of 2022
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
Yukon, Oklahoma

Undergraduate studies:
B.S. Chemical Biosciences

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Yukon, Oklahoma. I have two nieces and a nephew that I love and claim as my own children even though my mom says it doesn't count. I received my undergraduate degree in Chemical Biosciences with minors in Pre-Health Social Sciences and Criminology at the University of Oklahoma a few years ago. I worked as a scribe in the emergency department for four years before moving here to Colorado last year for this program! It's my first time moving away from home, and it's been a great (but challenging) journey so far.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, but I had a few setbacks in college which led to a less-than-perfect GPA. I took a few random classes at a local community college during my gap years because I wanted to keep learning, but I wasn't really going anywhere. My college counselor told me about Post-bac and Master's programs and I decided to apply and take a definitive step toward medical school. Unfortunately, Oklahoma doesn't have any MSBS-type programs, so an out-of-state program was my best shot. I still remember speaking with Dr. Brooks and Holly last year about RVU, and they gave it such good reviews that I had to see and experience it for myself. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity and can't wait to see what's next.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
My hobbies include procrastination, reading things other than textbooks, and watching TV (currently hooked on Superstore). Since moving to Colorado, I have also enjoyed spending time outdoors and taking in the beauty of the mountains. Oklahoma was slightly on the flatter side, so this is a new landscape for me to explore. My family is all back home in Oklahoma, but I've made great friends in the MSBS program, and I'm afraid they are all stuck with me for life.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I suppose it's a little cliché to say I'm not very interesting, but the only thing that really comes to mind is that I'm a super fan of superhero movies. The Avengers is my go-to feel-good movie.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
I still have the notecard that Dr. Towne had us fill out before our very first exam last August, and I look at it before every test. Breathe, don't change your answer, trust yourself, you belong here. Not only is it helpful, it reminds me where I started and how far I've come.

What are your medical interests?
As of right now, I think my interests are fairly widespread. I've shadowed and worked in a few different fields including EM, Family Med, and Hem-Onc, but I'm not sure where I would fit just yet. I'm open to anything and hopefully, I'll find out where my place is in the next few years. However, I can confidently say that I will never be a surgeon, and I think that's best for both me and everyone else.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
I honestly don't know if I could pick just one memory. In general, I would say it's getting to hang out with my friends and peers outside of school. As fun as our beloved MSBS 125 room is, it's great to see people out in the real world too. Whether it's studying at a coffee shop, grabbing food after a block exam, or even going to our RVU gala, getting to know everyone has been a highlight of my year. 

What advice do you have for prospective students?
I would tell them to prepare themselves for a very difficult academic challenge but that the end result is proportionally rewarding. Outside of the rigorous course material, they will learn a lot about themselves, they'll learn new study habits, and they'll make friends for life. They'll also experience a real preview of what medical school or PA school would look like. It is a great step into the field of medicine and an honorable degree to hold. Even though the year is not over, I am already so proud of myself and my class for making it this far. Graduation is just around the corner, and I know we can't wait for all of our hard work to pay off.



Stephen Wong
MSBS Class of 2022
Southern Utah Campus

Hometown:
Sandy, UT

Undergraduate studies:
B.S. Exercise Sciences

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My interest in medicine started when I got injured playing basketball in high school. Turns out I damaged my meniscus and needed surgery. My surgeon was incredible, and offered to show me the recording of the surgery. I was fascinated by how the surgeon made it look so straightforward and easy and I knew that's what I wanted to do. After I finished my undergrad degree, I started working as an operating room tech and was able to be part of the surgical team. I gained a lot of valuable experience while working in the operating rooms and am excited to continue to pursue my dream while at RVU.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I needed a way to improve my academics since I was applying to medical schools a few years after I had finished my undergraduate degree. I felt that a Master's degree would go a long way in proving my ability during applications and I had heard really great things about the staff and curriculum at RVU. The MSBS program at RVU offered an opportunity to earn a seat in the College of Medicine by performing at a high level in the Master's program, while earning a Master's degree at the same time. RVU has been an amazing opportunity and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I love the outdoors! My wife and I love hiking, camping, fishing, and mountain biking.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
Indiana Jones is my hero.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
This is the time to lay the foundation that will be built upon for the entirety of our medical career. Put your head down and get to work.

What are your medical interests?
Orthopedic surgery.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Believe it or not, the time I have spent studying with my buddies has been incredibly rewarding. We have pushed each other to study more and do better in classes and on exams. This is certainly going to be one of my favorite memories from my time at RVU.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
The MSBS program is extremely difficult, partly due to how quickly the program proceeds. Incoming students need to be ready to work hard starting day one, and need to be ready to make adjustments to their study plan when hiccups happen. You can succeed at this very difficult program, but it does take a lot of effort so be ready early.



Jose “Tony” Arreola-Patino
MSBS Class of 2022
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2022
Southern Utah Campus
Hometown:
Newdale, ID

Undergraduate studies:
BS in Biology from Utah State University

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was raised in a small farming community in Southern Eastern Idaho and have always enjoyed living in rural areas. Before coming to RVU, I worked as an ER Technician in the hospital and really enjoyed the fast pace and being able to interact with a variety of patients.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was initially introduced to the MSBS program by Dr. Benjamin Brooks during one of his visits to USU. At the time, I was searching for a way to bolster my application to medical school that would be more meaningful than simply taking additional undergraduate coursework. After speaking with Dr. Brooks, he made me feel like they genuinely care about their students and look beyond the GPA and MCAT metrics to the person as a whole. After speaking with previous students and interacting with additional staff, I felt that RVU would provide the resources necessary to help their students succeed in both academic and professional development. In addition, I chose RVU’s MSBS program because of the strong foundation the curriculum provides for continued success in medical school.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I enjoy competing in stock dog competitions, riding horses, and exploring trails in the mountains on side-by-sides. I also enjoy game nights with family and friends.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I taught my blind dog how to play fetch, and he is surprisingly good at it.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Don't just memorize, but take the time to learn and conceptualize the information. Initially, it takes time, but it will make studying and learning easier and faster as the year gets more challenging. Also, take breaks! Short five-minute breaks while studying and longer breaks after block exams to go out and do something fun that isn't studying really help prevent burnout.

What are your medical interests?
Emergency Medicine.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
This is a very rigorous program, so it is crucial that you work hard from day one and don't fall behind. Everyone has a different way of learning, so take the time to find something that works for you beforehand, and don't be afraid to make adjustments as the year progresses. Also, enjoy what you are learning! It makes studying for countless hours easier.



Sarah Killpack
MSBS Class of 2022
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2022
Southern Utah Campus
Hometown:
Lindon, UT

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelor’s in neuroscience with minor in Spanish

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve always known I wanted to work in the medical field but it’s been quite the journey to figure out what kind of medical professional I wanted to be. I love learning about the human body and I’ve loved getting to take more clinically-focused science classes in the MSBS program.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I’m a little different from most in the program, but I chose this degree to help boost my resume for when I apply to PA school next Spring. When I first started the program, I was still deciding between PA and DO school but my experiences so far in the program helped me to make a confident decision in moving forward with PA school. The great thing about MSBS is that it’s an intense 9-month program that teaches you so much and helps you to discover your learning and study styles all in preparation for your future career path, be that DO, PA, or something else.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I enjoy anything outside. I love to hike, run, ski and canyoneering. I’m a huge fan of puzzles and usually have one that I’m working on at home.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I’ve run a few marathons.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Take every opportunity, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. You’ll learn so much from it.

What are your medical interests?
Oncology and emergency medicine

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Hiking the narrows with the MSBS class before we started school. It was a beautiful hike and it was fun to get to know everyone before we started classes.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
If you’re on the fence about doing the MSBS program, do it!! I was so unsure about my decision up until the moment the program started but now I’m so glad I’ve been able to be a part of this cohort and been able to learn from such incredible professors.



Soňa Seligova
MSBS Class of 2021
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2021
Colorado Campus
Hometown:
Piešťany, Slovakia

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I immigrated to America with my family when I was in elementary school to Colorado, so you could say I am mostly a Colorado native. I got the travel itch when I was very young due to this, so my favorite thing has to be going back home or experiencing other countries and learning more about their cultures. Have lived in Denver now for the past 3 years, but am a CU alum (Go Buffs!).

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
From others who have attended/are attending RVU to my own research into medical schools, I always felt like RVU showed a sense of community. Even when visiting, everyone was very inviting and friendly and I wanted to choose a program that emphasized the importance of camaraderie.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
Going on backpacking trips, road tripping, any type of craft you can think of, reading psychological thrillers and listening to true crime podcasts.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I can speak three languages!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Learning in a new way is not the most comfortable path but growing is not supposed to be comfortable.

What are your medical interests?
Pediatric Emergency Medicine

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Doing the Masters of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) Program through Zoom University has been tough, but my class does "Waikiki Wednesdays" and we wear Hawaiian shirts for Dr. Roberts' PHYS Lectures. Definitely a highlight of the year!

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Be okay with the uncomfortable. This program is tough but nothing easy is worth doing. It will challenge you both intellectually as well as physically and mentally, but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel and if you have passion for medicine it is 100% worth the hard effort. Do not lose sight of yourself and make sure you have balance with school and your personal life, because that is what is going to get you through to the end!



Brandon Muse
MSBS Class of 2021
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2021
Southern Utah Campus
Hometown:
Ivins, UT

Undergraduate studies:
Public Health

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a born and raised Utahn that comes from a family of 6. I was raised in Ogden before my family moved down to St. George right after I graduated from high school. I did my undergrad at USU so I got to experience the coldest of Utah in the winter and the hottest of Utah in the summer. I also met my wife at USU and we couldn’t decide where to get married in Utah so we met in the middle and got married in Hawaii.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I chose RVU because I have many close friends that have highly recommended it to me. It's also a nice bonus that it's so close to home and family.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I love playing tennis, pickle ball, basketball, hiking, mountain biking, XBOX, and watching the Utah Jazz disappoint me from time to time.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I'm colorblind, which makes getting dressed a challenge.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Dr. Towne has us remind ourselves that we belong here, which has served as a great confidence booster when I'm feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.

What are your medical interests?
I'm still exploring as of right now, but I did get to work as a CNA on the medial floor of a hospital and the Internists got me pretty interested in what they do.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
I would recommend going to office hours and reaching out to faculty. They genuinely care about you and want you to succeed!



Stacey Clark
MSBS Class of 2022
Colorado Campus
Hometown: Zachary, Louisiana
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am from a fairly small town outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I love to dance and watch football. I also have a pomsky named Princeton who keeps me busy. For my undergraduate studies, I attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas where I earned my BS in Forensic Anthropology in 2021. Sic' Em Bears!

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decided to pursue this degree?
Upon graduating from Baylor, my MCAT was not the best. I knew that I needed to work on improving my score; however, I did not want to take a gap year. I knew that attending a post baccalaureate program was a great option to improve as a student without taking a gap. I chose RVU because of the supportive atmosphere, as well as the many resources available to all students. I appreciated how the school focused on the student overall, regardless of their test scores. The faculty works diligently to make all students feel comfortable, while simultaneously preparing them for the rigors of many healthcare professions.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
When I am not studying, I enjoy dancing, running, and drawing. Outside of school, I enjoy traveling and experiencing different parts of the world.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Make an organized schedule. You will be surprised how much more you are able to accomplish when you have a set schedule.

What are your medical interests?
My medical interests include cardiology, pediatrics, and emergency medicine.

What is your favorite memory of being at RVU?
My favorite memory from being in RVU so far is the community service project that we had to do for medical humanities. We went to Denver to help with COVID vaccines given to the community. It was a great way to help the community and represent RVU in ways other than academia.

What advice do you have for incoming MSBS students?
My advice is to come into this program with an open mind. Know that this program is challenging and the strategies used in undergrad may or may not suffice for this program, but it will prepare you for your future healthcare endeavors. You will succeed if you work hard and believe that you are here for a reason.



Linh Tran
MSBS Class of 2022
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
New Orleans, Louisiana

Undergraduate studies:
B.S. Chemistry - Xavier University of Louisiana

Graduate studies:
M.S. Pharmacology - Tulane University

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey, y'all! My name is Linh. I am currently a MSBS Student originally from New Orleans. I've basically lived in Louisiana my entire life and recently moved to Colorado to start this journey to medical school.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
After a few years from not being in school, I came to the realization I was not well-equipped for this path to becoming a physician. I specifically chose to attend RVU's MSBS as many of the alumni praised how the rigors of this program ultimately prepared them for their medical education. I felt like that was exactly what I needed in order to help me cultivate the necessary study-skills to not only survive, but thrive on my medical journey. From my own personal experience, I also see how invested our professors are in our education and success. Another important deciding factor was the small class size. I found this essential when choosing a program as it would give me a more personalized experience than other programs.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
Outside of RVU, I enjoy cooking and going on short drives. After living in Louisiana my entire life, I am used to seeing water, trees, and never-ending flatness. Whenever I get really stressed from studying, I take a short drive around Parker to enjoy the geography around me.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I stepped on a plane for the very first time when I moved to Colorado.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Reach out early and reach out often. Depending on what you are struggling with, it is so important to reach out to your professors. They are a resource to help you achieve your goals.

What are your medical interests?
My current medical interests are all over the place. When I was a kid, I really knew I wanted to be in family medicine. As I got older, I became passionate about dermatology. At this moment, I am interested in gastroenterology. Medicine is vast and there are so many interesting fields. My biggest goal at this moment is to make it into RVU-COM with an open mind and open heart to the field that needs me and the the skillset I aim to cultivate.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My most recent experience at RVU has to be my favorite. We just completed a series of lectures on OPP. In the very last lecture, we had the guidance of the OPP Fellows and were taught a few techniques to practice on our classmates. This gave us a glimpse into what our future holds and it was a motivating experience.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
My advice for prospective students is to do their research and find the program that is the right fit for them. Any student interested in this program should also be prepared to work extremely hard. It is not easy, but it will prepare you to further your journey in medicine. This program is a pathway to your medical degree, but it is a pathway you must forge. The only competition in this program is the one that looks back at you in the mirror.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I am extremely humbled and blessed to be a part of this community. It is a lot of hard work and there will be moments you will feel extremely defeated. However, it is so important to give yourself grace. MSBS students are chosen for a reason and it is because the admissions committee see your potential to thrive.



Enriqueta Torres
MSBS Class of 2021
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS)
Class of 2021
Colorado Campus
Hometown:
Port Arthur, TX

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Texas(Austin)

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Port Arthur, Texas, to two parents of Mexican descent. My mom was born in Port Arthur like me but lived between the U.S. and Mexico while attending school when she was younger. My dad was born and raised in Mexico and first came to the U.S alone when he was eleven years old to help raise money for his family. My family instilled a lot of strength in me which helped me get through a lot of my childhood being diagnosed with a rare disorder called Klippel-Feil at a few months old. While I hated my condition at times, it is one of the main reasons I had an interest in becoming a physician due to being exposed to them at such a young age. This interest led me to the University of Texas at Austin, where I thought I would receive a solid foundation to pursue becoming a physician. However, being so close to my family made it hard for me to move four hours away from home during my college years. However, I worked hard to graduate at the top of my high school class, which helped me fund my first few years of college, and I knew I needed to go. Now living over 16 hours away from my hometown, four hours doesn't seem long, but at the time, it did. Living far away from my family was stressful in many ways, but I was able to have many experiences that I would not have in my hometown. Many of those experienced in undergrad, mainly being able to meet a diverse group of people, helped shape many of the values I have today. After graduating college, I went on to teach High School Physics for two years in my hometown, where I ran the science club, assisted with the tennis team, and was the science department head.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I applied all over the United States to master's programs but decided on RVU because of the small community. I love my undergraduate university, but it was huge and easy to get lost in the weeds. I met with Dr. Towne the day before I had to make my decision and felt like I would receive more support at RVU than any other university I was accepted to, thanks to Dr. Towne. When I graduated undergrad, I did not feel I had the GPA or MCAT I needed to apply and be accepted into medical school. Also, my dad passed away during my time in my undergraduate career, and even if I was accepted into medical school, I was not mentally prepared to start school again, so I took two years off to make a plan and spend some time with my family. My credentials and years off helped me decide to apply to masters' programs instead of right to medical schools to ease my way back into school and gain some background knowledge to help once I reach medical school.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I am very close to my family and have four nieces, and my sister just had my first nephew. I try to face time them as much as I can, and when I was back in Texas, I would have my fair share of tea parties, dance parties, and dinosaur lessons with my nieces. In addition, my family is a movie-loving family, so we used to spend many nights watching new movies. Movies have become a huge stress relief for me in college because of my family. Back when movie theaters were open, I would watch a movie by myself after a test or stressful week. I also enjoy playing tennis, although it has been hard finding a tennis court near me since I've moved to Colorado, so I am very rusty at this point.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you?
I have always wanted to visit Greece to see all the beaches, but I never learned how to swim.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Dr. Towne always tells us we are here for a reason, which pops into my head every time I doubt myself. As cheesy as it sounds one of the first things we have to do to be successful is believe in ourselves. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, but if you have gotten this far, there is a reason it's not just luck.

What are your medical interests?
I am interested in family medicine because family medicine physicians make a difference in patients' everyday health and play a role in preventative medicine.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My favorite memory at RVU was the last day of the diversity summit when the student diversity task force saw everything come together. There is still progress that needs to be made but that last day of the diversity summit gave me hope that we were going in the right direction. I hope to stay at RVU longer to help keep the momentum going.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Going in the path that we are going in is hard. The thing that keeps me going is taking a break from all the science and remembering the big picture of why I am doing this. For me, it's to be a healthcare provider that underrepresented communities can trust. I've had to fight for my healthcare, and I don't want anyone else to have to do that. Lastly, you are not alone. Everyone has those days when it all seems too much. Sticking together and finding a good support system will help with those days. I could not have gotten as far as I have gotten without a good cry or rant session with my friends' support that I met at RVU.



Alexandra (Alex) Ortiz-Jiminez
MSBS Class of 2021
Colorado Campus
Hometown: Wichita, KS
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My husband and I have two little boys, and while they take up the majority of the time I don't spend studying, they're my source of motivation. I don't think I would be able to make it through this program without them. I'm originally from Wichita, KS and graduated from Wichita State University in 2019.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decided to pursue this degree?
I knew I wanted to do some kind of post-baccalaureate degree before going into medical school because I didn't feel like my study skills were good enough to be successful. I decided to come to RVU specifically because of the culture here. The faculty are so incredibly supportive and genuinely want you to succeed in whatever it is you aspire to do. They provide you with the resources to grow as a student, and they view you individually and holistically. You are more than just GPA or test scores. In addition, the curriculum gives you the foundation for what you need to know in a professional medical career so you're not spending time learning a lot of information that may or may not be relevant to you later.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I enjoy baking, hiking, and searching out new restaurants to try.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Break down your work into little pieces, and then do those pieces one at a time, spreading them out across the week if you need to.

What are your medical interests?
Cardiology or cardiothoracic surgery.

What advice do you have for incoming MSBS students?
Everyone says this but it's just so important: make sure you're not falling behind. Break down the work as you need to and spread it out over a few days, but be sure you have a realistic schedule so that you don't get backed up. You just can't learn everything the day before the test.

Also, if you're working and start losing focus or getting anxious, just take a break and do something else for ten minutes. You won't retain the information if you're using all of your energy to force yourself to learn.



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.



RESOURCES

The University reserves the right to change tuition and fees at any time without advanced notice. Learn more about the tuition payment schedule, individual health insurance status, and the tuition refund process.

The Office of Admissions processes thousands of applications for admissions each year. Learn more about requirements for admissions including residency status, minimum prerequisite course work, and GPA requirements.

The design of the applications-based systems curriculum is based on successful integrated academic models for the first two years of the curriculum.

CONTACT THE OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS

COLORADO CAMPUS
8401 South Chambers Rd.

Parker, CO 80112
303-373-2008

For faster response, please direct inquiries to the campus email:
admissions@rvu.edu

SOUTHERN UTAH CAMPUS
255 E. Center Street

Ivins, UT 84738
435-222-1290

For faster response, please direct inquiries to the campus email:
admissonsUT@rvu.edu.