Meet SPaRC Students

OMM Fellow Nadeem A. DO ’21 valued his participation as a SPaRC student. “I was able to talk to and learn from students who had just gone through the curriculum I was about to start and learn from their experiences,” says Nadeem.

Why WesternU

Nadeem was attracted to WesternU because of its community feel, “As a connection of multiple colleges within the health care field, interprofessional relationships are fundamental to the WesternU experience. I loved studying not only with my colleagues in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, but other colleges as well such as the College of Podiatry.” Nadeem recognizes the value of collaboration at WesternU by noting “This produces a cohesive environment focused on learning to provide the best care possible for our future patients.”

Value of SPaRC

In addition, Nadeem reflects on his positive SPaRC experiences. “Before starting medical school, I decided to join SPaRC in order to be as prepared as possible for the start of my graduate medical education,” says Nadeem. According to Nadeem, “I was able identify study strategies that would be most beneficial for my learning style before school had actually begun. I met and made so many amazing friendships that have continued to this day!” Overall, “It was one of the best choices I made,” says Nadeem.

Advice for Future Students

Nadeem’s advice to other students focuses on staying resilient. “When it comes to graduate medical education, I think it is important to recognize that everyone will have their own struggles along the way, I know I did! However, I think an essential aspect of a successful graduate student is resilience, specifically believing in yourself.” says Nadeem. “Having the confidence and faith in yourself that you will be able to overcome your challenges is foundational to your success! Belief in yourself combined with lots of hard work is what will make your goals and dreams come true!” says Nadeem.

Congratulations to Nadeem A. as he nears completion of his Doctor of Osteopathic medicine degree and begins his three-year Family Medicine residency program in Southern California. Nadeem chose Family Medicine because of his “passion in providing longitudinal care, advocacy, and education in addition to my desire to provide care for all age groups and

backgrounds.” Nadeem says he is “excited for what the future holds!” Given his experience here at WesternU, we are confident Nadeem’s future will be filled with success as he humanistically helps many people in need. Good luck Nadeem!

Meet SPaRC Students – Previous Entries

Alivia S. DMD ’21 valued her participation as a SPaRC student. “Participating in SPaRC was life changing for me. Throughout dental school this bond between us SPaRCies has never failed. We truly are a little family,” says Alivia.

Value of SPaRC

Alivia reflects on why she chose to participate in SPaRC. “Coming to California from out of state, I was extremely nervous. I hadn’t even really traveled much, let alone lived in another state. But I was able to move down to SoCal from Washington early, learn about the area, meet faculty, upperclassmen, and my best friends.” Reflecting on the benefit of her SPaRC experience, Alivia says, “Starting dental school after already being here a couple months, I felt so much more confident hearing faculty say my name on the first day, saying hi to people from other programs in the halls and already having an incredible support group. My home away from home.” According to Alivia, “We have had each other’s backs through it all these last four years and I can’t thank LEAD enough for bringing us together. Love you guys!”

Advice for Future Students

Alivia’s advice to other students focuses on finding the time to get involved. “You will surprise yourself with how much fire is in you. You will build your network, gain a support system, and become the leader you always dreamed of.” Additionally, Alivia suggests “Manage your work/life balance. When you’re studying, give it your all. When you take a break, disconnect completely from the books, do the things you love, and live your life.” Alivia adds “I just wanted to say how thankful I am for the opportunities and friendships WesternU has given me. Even through it all, the last four years have been incredible! I know times are tough right now but hang in there and know that so many people care about you, support you and love you. We can do this!!!”

Congratulations to Alivia S. as she nears completion of her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. Given the success Alivia has had here at WesternU, we know her future is bright and filled with many great opportunities.

 

Emily A

Emily A. ’MSPA 20 valued her participation as a SPaRC student. “SPaRC provided support by helping me learn how to prioritize or “triage” the tasks that needed to be done,” says Emily

Value of SPaRC

Emily reflects on her positive SPaRC experiences. “In the various graduate health programs, we are given an overload of assignments and topics that need to be studied, by being able to “triage” these things, I was better able to focus my time,” says Emily. According to Emily, “SPaRC also helped me learn how to take time for myself in the midst of crazy schedules. It is extremely important to do things that make you happy or else you will definitely feel the burnout.”

One particularly positive SPaRC experience Emily states is worth noting, “was getting to participate in community outreach at a shelter and center that provides assistance to women and children that were victims of abuse. It was so uplifting to provide education about a variety of areas to these women and children. It was an honor to do a small part for them.” Lastly, “after SPaRC is over, you will continue to have support because of the people you have met whether it be fellow students or the facilitators,” says Emily.

Advice for Future Students

Emily offers two pieces of advice for other students. The first is to focus on setting aside personal time. “Remember to take time for yourself once a week, do something you enjoyed doing before you got into school,” says Emily. “When you take time for yourself you will remain motivated to work hard and avoid burnout.” Emily’s second piece of advice is to put pride aside and ask for help. “I also would recommend to never feel embarrassed to talk with LEAD or professors if you start getting overwhelmed with all of the exams and other stresses.” Emily adds “everyone at LEAD is willing to help and the professors are as well. They all want you to succeed, and part of success is sometimes admitting you can’t do it all.”

Congratulations to Emily A. as we recognize her MSPA program completion and PANCE passing. With the start of a new year and new opportunities, the future is bright for Emily and wish we here the best in all of her future endeavors.

 

David P. DMD ’21 appreciates his role as a SPaRC student. “The memories and support groups I made in SPaRC gave me the right footing to begin my journey at Western U” says David.

Why WesternU

David chose WesternU because he was “most motivated by the humanism aspect of WesternU. I come from a small, farm town in Northern California. My goal is to return to my community and help the migrant field workers of my city.” David continues by explaining his goal of returning to his hometown “to serve my community as a fellow native, to give back to the city that helped me be all that I can be.”

Value of SPaRC

In addition, David reflects on his positive experiences, “I participated in the SPaRC program when I entered Western U, and it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made for myself.” David continues by adding “I was 3 years out of school, and very nervous to continue my education after being so out of the game for so long.” Specifically, David says “SPaRC helped me realize my test-taking anxiety.” After participating in SPaRC, David continued to support the summer program by working as a TA for 3 years. In explaining his motivation to continue his SPaRC involvement, David says “I believe that the humanism aspect of WesternU aligns with my core beliefs to serve those that need it the most.” David goes on to add even after SPaRC ended, the Office of LEAD offered him long-term “moral and academic support, and a safe-haven from the daily stress of higher education.”

Advice for Future Students

David’s advice to other students focuses on being resilient. “The best advice I can give you is to not be afraid of failure. There will always be shortcomings in life, what matters most is what you choose to do with the failure” says David. Further, David wants other students to understand the dental curriculum is challenging but encourages everyone to utilize available resources and “Ask for help, nobody got to where they are alone, never be afraid to reach out to someone if you feel like you are struggling, or if you feel like you may struggle.” David continues by stating “I’m forever grateful for everything the LEAD office has done to give me the confidence to achieve my goals.” David concludes by saying “Know that people at WesternU want to see you succeed. Your success is their success.”

Congratulations to David P. as he nears completion of his DMD degree. We are proud to wish David continued future success as he carries on and embodies WesternU’s humanistic tradition working in a Federally qualified health clinic in his hometown of Salinas, California.

 

Angelica N OD ’21 valued her participation as a SPaRC student. “SPaRC has provided emotional as well as academic support throughout my journey at WesternU,” says Angelica.

Why WesternU

Angelica was attracted to the field of Optometry because “I wanted a career in the health care profession that had flexibility and I was passionate about.” Angelica chose WesternU because the clinic is on-site and that “class size was small enough to be able to receive one on one help from professors in class as well as in clinic.”

Value of LEAD

Angelica appreciates the support she received from LEAD. “I made appointments with the LEAD team throughout my time at WesternU,” says Angelica. Angelica recognizes the challenges of attending graduate school, “Unfortunately, life does not stop or slow down when you are in graduate school.” She continues that LEAD “was always there for me whether I needed to talk about hardships or if I needed academic advice.” Angelica recalls “one time, my car died the day of an exam and I could not reach the school. Luckily, the LEAD team answered and was able to communicate with the school and reschedule my exam while I dealt with my car. They are true life savers!”

Value of SPaRC

In addition, Angelica reflects on her positive SPaRC experiences. “In the SPaRC program, we were able to preview material from the optometry program to gauge the level of difficulty. There were time management skills that I learned in SPaRC that I was able to apply when the semester started,” says Angelica. According to Angelica, “graduate school was a difficult transition from college. There was a new level of expectations from professors as well as learning time management.” Overall, “I felt more prepared for the level of expectations,” says Angelica.

Advice for Future Students

Angelica’s advice to other students focuses on finding and maintaining a support system. “It is important to have a strong support system because there are days that are going to be more difficult than others and you need someone to keep you motivated,” says Angelica. “In addition, it is good to make friendships with people in your class because they understand what you are going through because they are there going through it with you” says Angelica.

Congratulations to Angelica N. as she nears completion of her Doctor of Optometry degree. The future is full of options as Angelica is considering pursuing a residency in ocular disease or joining a private practice in southern California. Either way, we see great things in her future.

 

 

Garrett T. DPT ‘19 offers valuable insights to medical students about the importance of persistence. “While exertion of medical school may be challenging, the outcomes are rewarding,” says Garrett.

Garrett T. DPT ’19 is a graduate of WesternU and SPaRC. Currently, Garrett is completing his sport residency program in Birmingham, Alabama. Garrett works with elite athletes across the athletic spectrum from high school soccer, processional ice hockey, first round draft picks and numerous NFL players. Throughout his residency program, Garrett reflected on his academic and personal successes that have helped him in his career endeavors.

Rewards of Persistence

Garrett attributes his success to his focus on authentic patient care. “Adding authentic value to the patients you treat, the parents you communicate with and everyone you can connect with will become the foundational groundwork to increase the opportunities you will earn,” says Garrett. “Your capacity to add value in the designated field you will practice medicine is what you’ve initially signed up for; adding value to your patients and the community you will relate to is a responsibility you are unquestionably destined for,” says Garrett.

Advice for Future Students

Garrett advises other medical students to feel more comfortable pushing their academic, physical, and emotional limits. “Patient care is a large responsibility that will become tiresome and overwhelming,” says Garrett. Garrett strongly believes in the rewards of persistence and that by overcoming the pressures and challenges of medical school, one reaps many benefits. “Embrace the challenges, the failures, the frustrations, and defeats as this will lend you a greater perspective to increase your bandwidth to help more people. While exertion of medical school may be challenging, the outcomes are rewarding and necessary as an individual worthy of taking on the responsibility to help others properly,” says Garrett.

Garrett remains grateful to his DPT training and support he received at WesternU. “I was reminded this throughout my time at Western and those in SPaRC made sure I remembered to stay grateful for the opportunity I had been granted.” Garrett believes strongly that staying connected is important for every medical student. “I would not have been successful if not for those family, friends, and colleagues who grounded me when I became narrow-focused and irrational.”

 

 

Ashley

Ashley P. DPM ’20 reflects on the support she received from LEAD and SPaRC

The Value of LEAD

Ashley appreciates the support she received from LEAD. “I met with LEAD counselors frequently often scheduling meeting a couple of times a month,” says Ashley. Ashley met with LEAD counselors whenever she needed help with exams or any stressors in life. “I had so much support because they were able to listen and give me great advice. Each meeting made me feel better. I am extremely grateful for the friendships and assistance I had with LEAD,” says Ashley

The Value of SPaRC

In addition, Ashley reflects on her positive SPaRC experiences. “Being a part of SPaRC helped me feel much more prepared before I started my first year. I was able to get a great introduction to anatomy and become acclimated to the rigors for the upcoming school year,” says Ashley. According to Ashley, SPaRC made the transition into the podiatric program easier. “The SPaRC sessions and support from TAs helped tremendously to get a kick start and to understand the curriculum beforehand” says Ashley. In addition, SPaRC helped Ashley make life-long friends. “I am grateful I met other students from other programs which was great for networking and connections,” says Ashley.

Advice for Future Students

Ashley’s advice to other students highlights the importance of persistence. “My advice would be to NEVER GIVE UP,” says Ashley. Ashley recognizes there are times during the academic journey where school is overwhelming, and life can get in the way. “Just keep on going and know you are heading the right direction. Hard work and perseverance are key,” says Ashley. In addition, Ashley shares reminders to other students about available support. “LEAD helped me to stay positive during my 4 years in school and they can do the same for you,” says Ashley.

Congratulations to Ashley P. on completing her DPM degree and best wishes in starting her Southern California residency.

 

Eric C. DO ’20 appreciated his role as a SPaRC teaching assistant.

The Value of SPaRC

Eric’s contributions to the Summer Preparedness and Readiness Course (SPaRC) as a student teaching assistant have not gone unnoticed. As a student teaching assistant, Eric worked closely with faculty and LEAD staff to help newly admitted students enrolled in the SPaRC program acquire academic and emotional skills needed to be successful at WesternU,

Eric attended medical school at WesternU because of his desire to help people and the opportunities to do so in the surrounding communities. His goal of helping others was met when he assumed the role of a SPaRC TA.

My role as a TA for SPaRC was one of my favorite moments at WesternU, says Eric.

“Helping incoming SPaRC students realize what they were capable of and preparing them for the rigors of graduate education was very rewarding,” says Eric. “I appreciated the chance to support other students at the start of their degree program,” says Eric. Eric has been able to look back proudly on his memories as a TA and stay in contact with many SPaRC students. “I feel proud to have witnessed past SPaRC students thrive in their prospective programs because of the support they received,” says Eric.

Working as a TA for SPaRC helped Eric professionally. His SPaRC TA experiences helped him become a better teacher. “It was my first experience lecturing in front of a group and allowed me to mature as a public speaker,” says Eric. “This experience directly affected my skills in-patient care as I was able to learn techniques to communicate more effectively,” says Eric. The development of Eric’s teaching and communications strengths later contributed to his selection and successful completion of his prestigious OMM Fellowship for three years.

Advice for Future Students

Eric’s advice to other students focuses on wellbeing. “My advice would be to take it one day at a time,” says Eric. Eric wants other students to recognize that graduate medical education can be daunting and that an attitude of one day at a time will surprise students with how much they can accomplish. “Remember to take time for yourself, your mental wellbeing is essential during this exciting and challenging time,” says Eric.

Congratulations to Eric C. on completing his DO degree and best wishes as he starts his residency in Emergency Medicine in Philadelphia.

 

Shannon., DPT ’20 discusses how SPaRC supported her throughout her academic journey at WesternU.

The Value of SPaRC

Shannon I., DPT 2020 appreciated the support received from SPaRC. “The SPaRC program allowed me to develop life-long friendships,” says Shannon. While in SPaRC, Shannon worked with students in five other degree programs allowing her to develop strong friendships with students outside of her home program. Even three years after completing SPaRC, Shannon still enjoys catching up with other SPaRC students.

Gaining a new family at WesternU and LEAD

In addition, Shannon has enjoyed her experiences while attending WesternU and visiting the Office of LEAD. Shannon selected WesternU because of its highly qualified faculty who possess a wealth of knowledge and its small campus feeling. Shannon has enjoyed an environment where she can get to know everyone and has appreciated faculty, staff, and students offering positive energy without any negativity. Shannon believes her interactions with LEAD have been beneficial. “I always reached out for help at the LEAD office when I experienced stress and felt challenged to do better in my classes,” says Shannon. Along with faculty and classmates, LEAD encouraged Shannon to improve and do better. These supportive individuals who have always listened and offered advice quickly became part of Shannon’s family.

Advice for Future Students

Shannon’s advice for other students focuses on being courageous during the learning process. Shannon advises other students to “be okay with making mistakes.” According to Shannon, “you will never get better if you are scared to mess up or try something new. Faculty, staff, and administrators will offer plenty of opportunities to allow you to grow, don’t be afraid to go for it.”

Join us in congratulating Shannon as she celebrates her graduation and pursues a career in physical therapy practice with a focus on orthopedics or acute care.

 

Chan P., MSPA ’20 discusses how SPaRC contributed to his successes at WesternU both academically and personally.

The Value of SPaRC

Chan P., MSPA 2020 appreciates the support he received from the SPaRC (Summer Preparedness and Readiness Course) program. “I feel grateful that I was part of the SPaRC program,” says Chan. Chan benefited from this program more than expected. “Initially, I joined SPaRC because I wanted to get a head start and a refresher in anatomy and physiology but benefited from many other aspects of the program,” says Chan. “My learning experience in the cadaver lab proved to be invaluable and prepared me for my academic studies,” says Chan. More importantly, Chan met some of the most awesome people not only in the incoming class of PA program, but in other programs like osteopathic medicine, dental, and optometry. “Learning about each other’s unique backgrounds allowed me to appreciate the diversity of WesternU and gain new interprofessional insights about healthcare delivery,” says Chan.

Seeking a career in primary care

Currently, Chan is finishing his clinical rotations and preparing for board exams. After finishing his MSPA program, Chan plans to work in a primary care setting where he can guide patients to achieve their healthier selves while offering individualized management plans for each patient. “I am excited to be part of their lives and honored to play a role of huge responsibility and commitment,” says Chan.

Advice for Future Students

Chan’s advice for other students focuses on resilience and the importance of seeking help from others.

“I experienced the so-called imposter syndrome many times at WesternU,” says Chan. “I would compare myself to someone smarter than me and think “someone must have made a mistake for selecting me on the interview day. Why am I not smart enough?” But thinking back, there had to be a valid reason that I was chosen. The faculty must have seen something in me that made me a good candidate. Now that I am in my second year of PA program, I finally believe I belong here,” says Chan. “LEAD will help you believe it too If you have any doubt, go seek help. Speak up, rather than hiding it.”

 

Joshua S. DMD ’19 discusses how SPaRC helped him achieve an academic and personal advantage at WesternU.

The Value of SPaRC

SPaRC (Summer Preparedness and Readiness Course) gave Joshua an advantage in his education and made him more successful academically and personally.  “I developed my skills in time management which were incredibly important during my past 4 years at WesternU,” says Joshua. “The director’s lectures about how to approach exams and how to manage information and prioritize content were invaluable to my success. Knowing that I had a support system in place also made me feel comfortable if I ever needed to take advantage of other academic support services.”

SPaRC was also memorable for Joshua because it allowed him to develop his skills in teaching and mentoring students.   “During my SPaRC program, I admired and appreciated the 4th year students who presented overviews of foundational dental content,” says Joshua. “Prior to my 4th year, I served as a SPaRC tutor and continued a tradition of student-taught sessions in SPaRC.  I appreciated the opportunity to teach new SPaRC students the skills and knowledge I had acquired during my SPaRC program.”

New York Bound

Joshua has been extremely happy with the education he received at Western University of Health Sciences.   Joshua appreciates how the campus draws students who really support the values of WesternU including humanism, collaboration, and accountability.  “I feel well trained to take on patient care independently,” says Joshua.  After graduation, Joshua started a 1-year General Practice Residency in Utica, NY for Hospital dentistry at St. Luke’s Hospital. After completion, Joshua will be moving back to Southern California to look for a job as a general dentist.

Advice for Future Students

Joshua’s advice for other students focuses on staying balanced, “Keep your head down and make time to have fun” says Joshua.

 

James Z. MSPA ’19 discusses how he turned his passion for medicine and education into a career.

The Value of SPaRC

James Z. MSPA ‘19 appreciated the support he received from the SPaRC summer program. “The SPaRC (Summer Preparedness and Readiness Course) program prepared me to succeed in my graduate program at WesternU”, says James. “I gained a strong academic foundation through our review of key subjects, study habits, study tools, and connections to numerous university resources. This foundation supported me throughout my time at WesternU.”

In addition, SPaRC offered James a valuable inter-professional educational experience (IPE), which not only adequately prepared him to succeed as a student within his own program, but connected him to a diverse group of colleagues and medical professionals from different graduate programs at WesternU. “There were many positive moments from the program”, says James. “I enjoyed the inter-professional collaborative community health event at the House of Ruth and mentorship from WesternU upperclassmen. However, the camaraderie between my colleagues from the SPaRC program, which continues to this day, has been something I truly cherish.”

Community involvement commitment at WesternU

James chose to pursue his Masters of Science in Physician Assistant studies at WesternU as this institution displayed a commitment to producing medical professionals who are both competent and compassionate. “WesternU is committed to community involvement and empowering students to utilize the tools we garner through the various graduate programs to positively impact and advocate for under-served communities”, says James. “Service events have been woven into our curriculum and there are countless opportunities to participate in community service activities.”

Aspiring to a career in higher education

Following graduation, James pursued job opportunities in the areas of medicine and education. “I will continue designing lectures on preventative medicine to present in the community and will be pursuing a doctoral degree with the goal to one day join an academic institution as a physician assistant educator”, says James. “Medicine and education are my passion and I hope to one day inspire budding students of medicine just as the faculty and staff at WesternU inspired me.”

Advice for Future Students

James believes that WesternU is ripe with opportunity but that it is important avoid burnout by not overcommitting to too many things. “Instead, pick one or two extracurricular activities that sets your passion on fire, and do them well”, says James. “Learn to appreciate the value of these experiences on top of your rigorous graduate program at WesternU. Learn to say ‘No’ to the good things, so you can say ‘Yes’ to the great things.”