Q: What is your hometown, major and year? What are your degree focuses and why did you choose that path?
A: My dad was in the United States Air Force, so we moved around a lot. I was born in Las Vegas, but only lived there for two years. Most of my time was spent in either Japan or California. I was working in Southern California for about five years before coming to New Orleans to attend Tulane.
I am currently working on a Doctor of Medicine, Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Health at Tulane. This is my fourth year at Tulane and am hoping to graduate with the Class of 2023.
I decided to go to medical school after nearly a decade in research – behavioral and neural genetics, molecular pharmacology and cancer biology. I wanted to be on the other side of the lab bench, where I can help people a little more directly. I added the MBA and MPH to be a better, more well-rounded physician. For instance, I have a better grasp on health economics and health policy from these master’s degrees than from the MD curriculum. In a way, the MPH bridged the gap between the MD and MBA really well. The opportunity to make friends from different programs has been invaluable and truly shaped my time at Tulane.
Q: Being an MD/MBA/MPH student must keep you busy. What are you working on this semester?
A: At this point, I’ve finished my courses for the MBA and MPH. I am now working on my Applied Practice Experience (APE) for the MPH and am also gearing up to rejoin the MD as a third-year medical student (meaning I will hopefully be in clinical rotations this summer). My APE meshes public health with the medicine and business administration aspects of my overall curriculum, and my advisor has been very supportive of my work. I’m really excited to complete this part of my coursework.
Q: Tell me about your involvement in the Graduate and Professional Student Association. Is there something you feel particularly good about?
A: I’ve held several roles at Tulane, but the most long term has been with (GAPSA). I was a T1 GAPSA senator in my first year, vice president of finance in my second year, and president in my third and fourth year.
I initially got involved in GAPSA because I wanted to be involved as a first-year medical student. I stayed in GAPSA because I see the value of interdivisional relationships (graduate and professional schools are “divisions” in GAPSA). Tulane’s graduate and professional schools are decentralized and siloed. Through GAPSA, we can connect: I’ve had the opportunity to work with folks at schools well outside my three “silos,” and together I think we’ve been able to strengthen the relationship among graduate and professional students, faculty, staff and administrators. I also enjoy our GAPSA Assembly meetings, where student leaders (GAPSA senators, liaisons, guests) have a chance to connect almost once a month – we learn what’s happening within other divisions or campuswide, review proposals, discuss concerns and more.
A lot of us are working toward common goals, and it has been great to see progress being made, especially for things that may have been four years in the making. I like to think that we make a difference through “small steps” or “minor progress” each day, week, month or year. In addition, GAPSA is starting a pilot program this semester – GAPSA Guidance – that I hope graduate and professional students find value in.
Q: How has your time at Tulane, and in New Orleans in general, shaped your approach to your future career?
A: My time at Tulane, and in New Orleans in general, has really taught me to enjoy life and to set my own pace. I learned a lot about “work/life integration” from my peers and colleagues. I’m approaching my future career in terms of “What do I need to do to be happy?” and not “What do I need to do to get to my five-year or 20-year goals?” Don’t get me wrong, I do have five-year and 20-year goals. I just want to be happy when I reach them, and simply reaching them does not equate to being happy.
Q: Do you have new ways of de-stressing since the pandemic started?
A: I have just been intentionally making space for de-stressing. I watch movies, listen to audiobooks, and take lots of relaxing baths. I like to spend time with my 17-year-old long-haired Chihuahua, Luna, and take her to dog parks with her dog friend, Sawyer. I practice mindfulness techniques and have near weekly sessions with my therapist. I’m a big proponent of self-care and taking the time to protect your mental health.
Interview by Audrey Watford