MSBS Class of 2021
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Valdosta State University, BS-Chemistry (2011)
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
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