Q. You started the UVA post-bac program in the summer. What’s it been like so far?
A. I was really happy to be admitted to UVA’s program. UVA’s an incredible place.
The first semester was a challenge. There’s no doubt about that. I was a history major, but with a focus in finance and business. It’s very different going into a STEM program with no prior exposure.
When the fall started, I really had to start experimenting and figure out what works and doesn’t work for me in studying. I linked up with a friend who was an art history major. I think we’ve figured out a recipe for success in studying.
Whenever we have a long week, we talk about how we need more “BIC” hours: butt-in-chair hours. There’s no excuse not to sit down and study. The cohort experience really makes that possible.
Q. How did your scholarship from the Post Baccalaureate Centralized Application Service come about?
A. Our program’s leadership told me about it, and I had been doing some research about scholarship opportunities. This was a national essay contest on the question of how technology will impact the future of medicine.
In my essay, I discussed the great push for e-medical records that are now coming into the health care system. There’s a big generational gap there. As a scribe, I got a lot of practice at working with software that does this, which wasn’t much different than my experience in finance working with Bloomberg terminals [a computer software system used to analyze market data].
I see electronic medical records becoming a better tool to provide insight on a massive, aggregated scale, to better identify risks and warning flags, like medicines that combine in dangerous ways.
We’re all beneficiaries of an accelerated COVID vaccine, which is the result of new mRNA technologies, which are the result of about 25 years’ worth of research. It takes 20 or 25 years for technology to really change, and I’m excited to be a part of that.
There are a lot of new avenues that will be opening up. Technology promises a lot, but it delivers in small incremental steps.
Q. What advice do you have for people considering going back to school to become a doctor?
A. First and foremost, get health care experience to test the waters. You don’t necessarily want to take the polar plunge and just jump in. It’s a hard transition to make to go back to being a student in a new subject.
If you’re on that fence, get some experience through volunteering or however you can, and then don’t be afraid to make the leap and join us in Charlottesville in June.