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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I arrived in the Crescent city during the first week of July wearing a sweater filled with curiosity and fear. New Orleans would be my first time living abroad, and I wasn't too sure of what to expect. Within weeks, I have come to love this city and my new school. I could go on and on about the Franco-Victorian architecture, decadent Cajun cuisine, relaxed atmosphere and the friendliest inhabitants I have ever met. But for now, I will leave it at just that.

I was very surprised with how quickly I was accepted into the Pharmacology MS program here at Tulane. My intentions were to apply to a graduate program in order to improve my CV and apply to a multiple dental schools afterwards. I was filling out applications for multiple schools when I received my notification about a week and a half later. Without hesitation, I removed my other graduate programs and jumped on a plane to Tulane University's School of Medicine.

Our first week consisted of a bowling ice breaker between classmates, a formal orientation, and a meet-and-greet of prior Masters students and departmental faculty. Everyone had nothing but pleasant commentary regarding the program, and all of the professors whom I met were kind.

My first week of classes were filled with a boatload of information that seemed overwhelming; but, was extremely interesting, nonetheless. I felt like a mini-pharmacist with all of the knowledge that I had acquired in such a short amount of time! We have had two block (learning themes) exams in the past month based upon Inflammation and Microbiology. My professors have been more than welcoming and helpful. Aside from being exceptional at teaching, they have personally met with me multiple times in order to review material. I believe that I am receiving the maximum amount of help here.

We have also been engaged in weekly seminars where doctoral and MD professionals have given presentations on their work. The research is extremely fascinating and ranges in topics from renal stability and sex hormones to estrogen and the heart. I cannot wait to see who else will be presenting.

Soon I will be starting my volunteering at the local science high school. I am very excited to help these students as I have been a tutor since I was 15 years old. Some of my classmates were able to assist families who have been affected by the Louisiana flooding which is very awesome. In the meantime, I have been making sure to hand out extra groceries to our local homeless population, and am looking into joining a homeless feeding center.

Until next post :)