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Master's Student Profiles

Our students come from a variety of educational backgrounds but have in common a passion to continue their education to gain admission to medical, dental or veterinary school. This page will focus on a group of our students, indicating where they came from, what drives them and what their specific goals are for the future.

My name is Benny Wu, and I am a first year student in the PhD portion of the DO/PhD dual degree program, which a joint program between UMDNJ-SOM and UMDNJ-GSBS. I began my journey by earning my B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California-Irvine. Afterward, I came here to the UMDNJ-GSBS to complete a Master of Biomedical Sciences (M.B.S.) degree. My success in the MBS program helped me earn admission into the SOM for the Fall of 2009. During the first year of medical school, I participated in the Summer Medical Research Fellowship program and found that basic science research would enhance my understanding and further advance my work in the field of medicine. During my second year at SOM, I applied to the PhD program in Cell and Molecular Biology, was admitted and passed the first part of the COMLEX exam. I began the PhD program in the Fall of 2011 and have chosen to do my thesis research work in Dr. Kingsley Yin's laboratory. Dr. Yin's lab focuses on sepsis and the mechanisms of survival (during sepsis) in animal models. The reason I chose to Dr. Yin’s lab is because I am fascinated by the immune system. When the immune system becomes defective, many different kinds of disease can occur (even affecting multiple organs at the same time). In the future, I would like to continue research in the field of medicine I am in (hopefully, Dermatology). My other research interests for the future are psoriasis and autoimmune disorders of the skin. Outside of lab, I am an avid runner and enjoy wine tasting and eating at all the wonderful restaurants Philadelphia has to offer!

Erica Gomez

Rutgers University 2008

UMDNJ Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences MBS 2011

Currently a candidate for a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine

UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine c/o 2014

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was a great segway for me on my path into Medicine.

Currently a second year student at UMDNJ - SOM, I recall fondly the days grueling over my commitment to make myself a competitive applicant for Medical School.

Being Latina and like many whose parents came from the Carribean or Foreign countries, I had to pave new terrain for myself. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Stratford New Jersey helped me to do just that.

I found myself engaged in not only materials that I would repeat again in Medical School and for Board preparation but it also gave me a taste of what it was like to do research.

As a medical student now, I have a different respect for all of the hard work that goes into the knowledge that we see in text and sometimes may even take for granted.

As for the people including Dr. Worrad, Dr. Hock and Professors alike, I was made to feel as though I were a colleague and even at times like I was a part of a new family.

I appreciate everything about what this program has done for me and look forward to sharing great news while accomplishing my dream.

Erica Gomez MBS OMS II

Name: David Pierre
College/Degree: Rutgers The State University of New Jersey/Major: Biological Sciences, Minor: Africana Studies

Name: Michael Itidiare
College/Degree: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey/Biological Sciences

“What’s going on Mike? Did you get a roommate? If not, we should definitely room together since we know each other from undergrad.” These were the questions posed to one another at our GSBS orientation. Little did we know, that this dialogue would go on to serve as the foundation to our collective fate of entry into the same medical school.

We both have similar stories. Attending Rutgers The State University of New Jersey proved to be one of the most important phases in our lives because we experienced both sides of the academic spectrum. Although it seemed daunting at first, the usual horror stories of freshman year in college did not hinder our goals and aspirations to mold ourselves into successful applicants for medical school. While primarily focusing our time and energy on strengthening our grades, we also found time to participate in enrichment programs and activities such as the Rutgers ODASIS (Office of Diversity and Success In Sciences) program, the “Hurricane Relief Effort-Alternative Spring Break,” and the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine Summer Prep Program.

Our involvement combined with hard work and perseverance generated positive academic trends in the latter segments of our college career. Although this was rewarding, we knew that it would not be enough to immediately allow us to segue into medical school. Thus, we both independently decided that attending UMDNJ-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) would certainly strengthen our biomedical sciences background while also allowing us to participate in innovative research.

Our paths crossed the first day, during GSBS student orientation.  Soon after deciding to be roommates, we knew that the best way to ensure our overall academic success in GSBS was to formulate a strong bond with other fellow classmates. This was accomplished by forming a study-team of roughly 7 students. Not only were we classmates, but we soon became very close friends. We all promised to make sure that we would never let each other fail. Studying together at our apartments, quizzing each other in the library, and even testing each other while eating dinner proved to be beyond rewarding. Not only were we able to regurgitate the material, but we were also was able to understand the information conceptually.

We owe all of this academic success to our close study team and UMDNJ’s administration and staff.  Professors were not annoyed by the million questions we asked during office hours, nor were other students in our class reluctant to share studying tips and materials. Even the busy SOM-medical students took their time out to provide us with study materials and tips on how to study. Through our efforts, combined with their support, we were able successfully complete classes offered by GSBS, the School of Public Health (SPH) and the School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM). Overall, GSBS has undeniably prepared us to tackle on the next challenges of our academic careers.

In August 2009, we once again became roommates at a newer and exciting phase of our lives— medical school. We were both successfully accepted into Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). Although the rigors of medical school will be challenging, we know that the foundation we received from GSBS will ease the transition. Ultimately, our future plans include using the medical profession as a vehicle to provide motivation and guidance to underprivileged youths in the inner cities of the Tri-State area.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We hope that our story motivates anyone who may have doubts about their goals of entering medical school.

Best wishes,

Dave & Mike

Email: Michael Itidiare:

David Pierre:

Name: Kris Ruangchotvit
College/Degree: Cal Poly Pomona/Bachelor of Science (Biology major w/ minor in Zoology), 2006

Hello! My name is Kris Ruangchotvit. I am currently a Masters of Biomedical Science candidate and anticipate on graduating in Dec. 2008. For my undergraduate studies, I attended Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, CA and graduated in 2006 with a B.S. degree in Biology with a minor in Zoology. During my time at Cal Poly Pomona, I completed various college enrichment programs such as AmeriCorps, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Undergraduate research program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's 2005 Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. After completing SMDEP, I realized medicine was my calling, however, I wanted to strengthen my biomedical science background before attending medical school. This led me to UMDNJ-Graduate School of Biomedical Science (GSBS)'s Masters of Biomedical Science (MBS) program.

What I have enjoyed most in the MBS program has been the support of UMDNJ students, faculty and staff and the program's curriculum flexibility. I have completed classes offered by GSBS, the School of Public Health (SPH) and the School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM). Furthermore, I was the first GSBS student to participate in the interdisciplinary Bridging the Gaps (BTG): Community Health Internship Program sponsored by SPH and GSBS. BTG provided an opportunity to participate in a summer internship with SPH and SOM students to view the bigger picture of what healthcare means in the U.S. and to improve access to community health resources within the City of Camden.

As I look back on my MBS experience, I feel prepared to tackle the next challenge of my academic career. In May 2009, I will begin medical school at Ross University School of Medicine. My future plans include a career in academic and clinically medicine with a focus on improving access to healthcare for all people.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Best of luck with your academic endeavors!

Best wishes,
Kris Ruangchotvit

Notes of Interest

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