I began college without a declared major. I decided to be a biomedical engineering major on the pre-med track. I chose this major because it is relevant in science and teaches the mechanics of machines that help save lives. I chose to be on the pre-med track because I want to help others. I started to look for a research lab to work in. I still remember the words that sparked my interest in my PI’s lab, “cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States”; these were actually the first words in my PI’s research focus description. The lab focuses on studies relating to atherosclerosis, which is the primary cause of heart diseases and strokes; it is the main cause of 50% of deaths in western societies. I thought the best way I could make a difference is to do research on something related to the leading cause of death in the United States.
I also worked in a pathology lab, New Path Diagnostics. I thought this was a favorable job opportunity because it allows me to see other types of diseases up close. Learning about each of the numerous tests and the possible diagnoses was amazing. I learned a lot more from that job in one summer than I could in any one class from school. The most important gain from the job was that I found my desired field of research. I am still interested in blood and cardiovascular disease; I’ve been doing the research I wanted all along. During my first year as a graduate, I took a graduate lab rotation course; this allows me to continue doing research on cardiovascular diseases.
Although I plan on doing research, I do not plan on giving up on my pre-med track. I will apply to medical school. I’ve asked the pathologists from New Path Diagnostics, both having MD/PhD, about the programs they were in and I found it intriguing. After the job experience and all this research experience, I’ve figured out that I want to apply to an MD/PhD program and continue research on cardiovascular diseases.