Saturday, April 22, 2017

Final Days

It's my last post of the program and I cannot believe how quickly these months have past. July seemed like yesterday when I arrived, bright-eyed to New Orleans. Since then, I have made great friends and lived alone. I have learned fantastic study techniques and challenged myself with difficult coursework. The Tulane Pharmacology staff and medical school community have taught me the values of caring for one another and pursuing progression in the scientific field.

New Orleans is a small, big town filled with many characters from all walks of life. No matter the socioeconomic status, race, religion or career, everyone in the city is friendly and has a zest for life. (and a zest for crawfish- which I had so much of at the Pharm department crawfish boil this month!)

I was first involved with tutoring for the New Orleans Science and Mathematics Charter High School. There, I mentored students in an upper biology course and assisted in classroom experiments. Many of the students were keen on learning about science, but needed aid in how to approach topics. A few were not as interested and needed motivation, but proved to have fantastic academic prowess. I am delighted that I was able to use my own knowledge to better these children and connect with them on a personal level as well.

In November, I started volunteering regularly at the Ozanam Inn homeless shelter. It is a bit closer to my home downtown as I do not have a car and our schedule in the program tends to vary. I have made close connections with these men who come from various backgrounds: prison, foster homes, living on the streets. They are extremely kind and love to joke in each other's company, and are welcoming to all of the volunteers and medical students who come to assist. I enjoy relieving them from their daily duties and assisting in food handouts whenever possible so that they can have a break from being up since 5am.

The volunteering, academic duties and social engagements that I have had here are unparalleled.
I thank Tulane for allowing me to have a memorable and successful year.

Hours this month: 13
Total hours this semester: 30
Total hours this school year: 60

Sunday, March 26, 2017


No quirky or cutesy title this month as it was simply March. Our NBME SHELF exam occurred last week as well as two block exams during the month.

Unfortunately, I have realized how close we are to the end. There is a little over a month left before the Pharmacology program concludes and my time in New Orleans comes to a close. It's fair to say that I am saddened by this realization and am hoping to maximize the time that I have left in the city..

I am currently in the Rudolph Matas library studying for the second to last Cell Control exam and thinking about how to prepare for my Endocrine Pharmacology presentation. This last homestretch will include vigorous focus on my final courses, frequently attending the Ozanam Inn and indulging in the Nola activities that I have yet to explore. 

As far as volunteering, I am continuously pleased to be assisting at the Ozanam Inn. The new group of temporary workers on-site are very sweet. We have quickly become friends despite, our large age differences in some. Many of these men are former prisoners who are excited to re-integrate into society. They have expressed a fondness for this program, and rightfully so: the Ozanamm Inn provides spiritual guidance, physical checkups and nourishment for these men. In addition, the smiles and helping hands of all of the workers (and volunteers like myself) provide a vibrant and accepting atmosphere. 

I can't wait to continue spending time with these individuals and relieving them of their stressful duties.

Total hours this month: 14

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February Festivities

First and foremost, I am very proud of my classmates and members of Louisiana who volunteered their time to help tornado victims. Not far from where I live, a tornado struck down in early February that ruined the homes of many New Orleanians. The efforts from those in the community to provide relief are truly remarkable.

February in New Orleans also meant the coming of Mardi Gras. I was fortunate to witness this cultural event that brought together the community and traffic! I volunteered at the Ozanam Inn homeless shelter and was so happy to see other members of New Orleans engage in philanthropic effort. A group of lawyers had joined together to cook a ton of jambalaya, red beans, rice and chicken for those who work and stay at the shelter. A new round of regular workers just started employment there in January. While I am saddened to not see my old friends anymore, I'm proud to make acquaintance with a new set of guys who are making the. Eat for themselves and helping others.

The Inn was closed on Mardi Gras. However, I dropped off parade beads that I caught over the weekend. There were probably nearly 80 or so beads in total and I believe that it would raise the men's spirits. I'm looking forward to the shelf exam next month, and will be studying vigorously for that! The program is coming to a close and we have already finished the Principles course. A crawfish broil for the class, and more volunteering opportunities, are to come soon.

Total hours: 3

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Year, New Me(d Pharm)

I am ecstatic to be back in the Crescent City to start a new academic semester!! While at home for Winter break, I had time to think about new study habits, time management and ways to truly make the best of my time in New Orleans. I will need to do so quickly as we are due to complete the Masters degree at the end of April!

I am scheduled to take my dental school entrance examination- or DAT. It is set for the last day of January. Due to this, I decided not to volunteer this month in order to put in as much effort as possible into succeeding. Being able to focus on my friends at the homeless shelter fully without the stress of my entrance exam would allow me to be the most cheerful person when I am around them.

I cannot wait to be back in the kitchen aiding those who volunteer at the Ozanam Inn. A classmate has also been going with me since last semester- so it's nice to not only have company, but also to have extra hands to assist! They are very kind and jubilant men despite their economic status. I feel honored that they consider me to be someone whom they have good fellowship with.

Total hours this month: 0 (Hours to come soon!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NOLA November

Total Volunteer Hours this month: 4 hours
Total Volunteer Hours in December: 15
Total Volunteer Hours for Fall 2016: 30 hours

November has been an exceptional month in the program. We completed examinations for the Renal and Pulmonary blocks. I learned so much about asthma, angiotensin, nasal sprays and more!
We also have taken two exams and started the Molecular Cell course. This course is extremely productive in providing knowledge about experimental testing techniques and functionality of scientific design at the molecular level.

I have continued to volunteer at the New Orleans Science and Mathematics Charter high school. I assisted with science fair project development at the beginning of the month, and have been a biology classroom aid for dissections.

In addition, I just began to volunteer with the Ozanam Inn. This is a male homeless shelter that houses about ninety men per night. Their maximum is 125 men per night, and they serve food two times per day to the disenfranchised members of our community.

I decided to participate in their volunteer services seeing as how I have a bit of extra time when not studying or volunteering as a research assistant in the Pharmacology department. The members of Ozanam Inn are very kind gentlemen and those who volunteer with them have proven to be outstanding, caring citizens.

I cannot wait to see what happens next! Below, I included a photo of me at Sci High.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


It's nearing the end of October in Nola. Just like my home town of Weston, Florida, there are barely any signs of seasonal shift. There were two cold days in New Orleans and I felt proud to don boots and my thick sweater. Other than that, there are no leaf color changes and the only pumpkin was one outside of my cheery neighbor's apartment door.

We are close the last exams of the fall semester. I am currently writing from the library studying for the Renal block exam. It is quite interesting to know that the kidneys are affiliated with hypertension- I was not previously aware of that. Tomorrow will be one of our last problem-based learning sessions for the 2016 year. I am looking forward to sharing ideas and diagnosing the fictional patients that my group and I will encounter.

This month I have volunteered twice at the New Orleans Science and Mathematics Charter High School. The children were mainly focused on their science fair projects, and thus did not need that much assistance. While in the biology classroom, I made sure to always look open and provide for fresh perspectives on their chosen topic, or potential ideas. Even if I am not always able to tutor a student one-on-one, it is beneficial for them to take advantage of an extra science resource other than their teacher.

As I do live in the Central Business District and rely on the shuttle, I am looking forward to committing to another volunteer program closer to me. Being able to split my time between the Science High School, and a charity in my area, would allow me be of use to as many New Orleanians as possible. My main goal in New Orleans (aside from academics) is to take advantage of philanthropic opportunities whenever I have free time. I'm excited to see what volunteering opportunities I will embark on next!

Total hours volunteered this month: 5

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 2016

I cannot believe that it has been nearly three months since I started at TUSOM and came to New Orleans! My experience here has confirmed the age-old adage that time truly does fly when you are having fun. Needless to state, I have been having a blast.

The class is currently on Block 4 of the program having just taken our Block 3 exam two weeks ago. Block 4 covers the autonomic nervous system (ANS). As such, we are learning about the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems in relation to cardiac functionality, and comprehending how a variety of drugs effects these processes. There is a lot of material- our biggest Medical Pharmacology exam yet- but I am eager to learn it as best as I can.

The program has definitely improved my study habits and time management skills. It is my first time living alone, out of my home state, and away from home. I have had to adjust to fully being responsible for my own well being. Little things like coordinating the shuttle route I need to take to volunteer, grocery shopping and making sure to keep up with daily studies seem primal. However, everything takes thorough planning when no one is around to remind me of the little things.

Nevertheless, I am content living in this vibrant and friendly city, and have learned so much in the past few weeks. I tend to enjoy studying alone, but have found solace and understanding in communicating with a mentor who was in the program last year. As well, we have our first team based learning session in two days. I am eager to see how working cooperatively in groups will further bolster my study skills.

As far as volunteering goes, I have committed fully to working with high school students at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School. So far, I have gone to the school on two occasions to assist in the classroom of a biology professor- who coincidentally went to my alma mater! The kids are energetic and sweet. I made sure to appear open and smiley while in their presence, and they had no qualms with asking me for help on their assignments.

The second time that I went to the high school, I helped a student catch up on a large amount of homework that he wasn't keen on doing. Outside of the classroom, we were able to focus. Using the book and my own knowledge, we tackled the topics of organism relationships and the ecological pyramid. He was extremely bright. I made sure to encourage him to finish work as soon as it is assigned, and that he was more than capable of succeeding. I am excited to assist the children in completing their science fair projects during these next few weeks.

This past weekend, I volunteered with the Louisiana ASPCA at their biggest event of the year. Nola on Tap brought in 25,000 people and raised a quarter of a million dollars for the foundation! When not assisting in dog care, I was an official photographer for their program and spread awareness of their cause. Animal care is an important cause to me as I love my own dog and am pained to see animals in distress. I hope to join their dog walking and care program as well.

I cannot wait to see what the city of New Orleans and the MS in Pharmacology at TUSOM have next in store for me!

Total Hours in September: 8