"Challenge yourself as much as you can with STEM courses during your time at AOC and COC. This rule applies to all students interested in STEM majors and careers. Never underestimate the importance of success in these classes, especially math, as your foundations for college. While extracurriculars are important, remember that thriving academically while taking advantage of your academic opportunity at AOC should be your priority."
One of my shifts while volunteering at Henry Mayo Hospital.
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
Growing up with two engineer parents, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in engineering from a very young age. I did not really know what that meant, but I enjoyed science and math in school and it seemed interesting.
My focus on engineering shifted in 8th grade when we learned about genetics and gene modification. I was fascinated by this topic because I was interested in its applications in cancer treatment. With a long history of cancer in my family, I decided to pursue a career in medicine.
Upon entering AOC, I had already decided on my major of Biomedical Engineering with the goal of becoming a doctor in the future. Academically, I focused on finishing the math track at COC and taking other science courses such as Bio 106.
I began exploring extracurriculars to learn more about the medical field during my junior year. I volunteered at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital for over 250 hours and shadowed my local physician at his practice. Although the quarantine forced me out of both extracurriculars, they provided invaluable experiences and knowledge.
I am now pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering, Emphasis in Molecular-Cellular Engineering at the University of Southern California. I hope to gain medical research experience from laboratory research during my time as an undergraduate.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
I volunteered at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital from 2018-2020 for over 250 hours and learned about the inner workings of a hospital.
I shadowed my local physician at his practice on multiple occasions to learn about doctor-patient interactions and the application of medical knowledge.
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Currently waiting to step foot on campus!
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
My long term goal is to become an Oncologist and to use my biomedical engineering background to perform cancer research on the application of genetic modification or gene therapy in cancer treatment. Having seen the impact cancer can have on a family firsthand, I intend on taking part in research throughout my college career to build the experience and knowledge necessary to innovate more effective and affordable treatments for cancer patients in the future.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: Start thinking about extracurriculars as soon as possible. Extracurriculars are extremely important for both college applications and to grow as a student outside of school. I would highly recommend the two medical-related extracurriculars that I was involved in during high school to any student who is also considering a medical career. I would also encourage all students to focus on maybe 2-4 extracurriculars they really care about rather than many different ones. Do not be afraid to dive into volunteer or passion-based extracurriculars as well but try not to distract yourself with completely unrelated ones either. You only have so much time outside of school and you have to spend it wisely.
Advice #2: Challenge yourself as much as you can with STEM courses during your time at AOC and COC. This rule applies to all students interested in STEM majors and careers. Never underestimate the importance of success in these classes, especially math, as your foundations for college. While extracurriculars are important, remember that thriving academically while taking advantage of your academic opportunity at AOC should be your priority. The high-level math classes available to you through COC should be your focus among the STEM courses available. If you can, take Math 211-215. You will also gain a highly competitive edge by having these classes completed by the end of high school. As the SAT becomes less important in the evaluation of students in college admission, your schedule’s rigor and your ability to succeed in such a challenge will only become more important.
Advice #3: Try to branch out into subjects of interest at COC if it can fit in your schedule. Most students have very similar schedules to achieve certain common associate degrees because these schedules have been manageable for students in the past. Although this works for many people and is perfectly acceptable, you may want to swap out certain classes with ones that you are more interested in. Do your research on this well before you have to register for classes so you can create a more personal education plan.