1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Nour. I majored in English with a chemistry minor. I grew up in Chicago and decided to remain there for my undergraduate degree when I attended Loyola University Chicago, from which I graduated in May. While in college, i focused on Chemical research and developed an interest in biochemistry and laboratory technology when working extensively with Ion Chromatography and NMR. I will be starting the Biotechnology program at Rush University Medical Center to acquire my Masters of Science before applying for Medical School. In addition to chemistry, I have a deep love for reading, analyzing literature and writing, I even did an independent study on Jane Austen in college. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and am especially a fan of Romantic literature, including John Keats, Mary Shelley, William Blake and (though not Romantic) the glorious Shakespeare. Romantic literature was my primary focus of study when attaining my B.A. Starting my second year of college, I joined and co-headed a research project, which was funded by Colgate. I spent three years there, and later presented research at a conference in San Francisco.
2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? I had two favorite teachers in college and both taught me different subjects. My first favorite teacher was Dr. N who supervised our research team, and taught me general chemistry and Quantitative Analysis lab. Dr. N is a very knowledgable and experienced researcher who has taught me much of what I know on experimental chemistry and the sciences. He introduced chemistry in such an eye opening way that I could never look at science a different way again. He focused on how everything in chemistry was interconnected with other scientific fields. When we went over kinetics, he would branch into physics and apply real life examples for our class in order to focus on how science is everywhere and beyond the textbook. Science isn’t so hard if you learn to apply it in your own terms and that is what I learned best from him, and I began to thrive in my science classes once I applied that concept to my studies. Life doesn’t always follow a formula and you have to learn to manipulate the variables of life and experiments to find the right answers. When I joined his research team he insisted on constant diligence and careful analysis in the laboratory, which is vital for studying and practicing medicine. I began to overcome my fear of making mistakes with repeated times of the using lab equipment, making solutions, calculating concentrations, testing chemicals, fixing the Ion chromatography machine and much more. I learned not to be afraid to go beyond what is instructed in the textbooks, and try and witness the scientific phenomenons with my own eyes and practice improving my skills.
My other favorite teacher was Dr. C, who taught the majority of my English courses and supervised me in the English Honors Program. Dr. C is an extremely funny, intelligent, and open professor. Coming into the English major, I was not knowledgable on how to write essay or even to execute my ideas into an articulate manner. I’d always loved literature, and considered it like a puzzle to figure out the harder it was. But I was always nervous about following a specific pattern of writing essays which I was taught in high school: five paragraph essay with topic sentences and etc. I had the ideas, but my fingers would always freeze on the keyboard. However, upon my first lecture, Dr. C told my class that we needed to investigate everything literature, and not take anything the author writes for granted. A specific word choice could alter the entire presentation of a poetical work or novel. The history also mattered, how we view concepts now, was different for a book in the 18th century. Literature was also about considering the world around it, which made it more interesting. With writing, he told us that we shouldn’t be so obedient as to obey what our high school teachers told us. The real world wasn’t going to read writing that was boring or uninteresting, so he encouraged us to let our personalities and interests thrive on the page. If our structure altered from the norm, do not be afraid to take the risk. I continued my studies in Romantic literature and I found myself continuously writing 20-30 page papers on my favorite authors. I also became intensely interesting in broadening my vocabulary and studying the different perceptions of words throughout the ages, as Dr. C taught us how such things could alter literary works. My writing and analytical skills wouldn’t be where they are now if not for Dr. C.
Both these professors taught me to break away from strict directions and learn to apply concepts and execute my ideas in my own ways. The best lessons that I have learned in college.
3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? This is a difficult question, because there wasn’t a single moment where I decided to be a doctor. Sure, I wanted a career where I could help people, but there were many positions where that was possible. When I was little my father would take me to the hospital to see where he worked and I was fascinated, the series of physicians grouped together going to their next patients. In high school I volunteered at Mercy Hospital in the medical records office working under the Cancer Registerer. There were times when I was in the room with my supervisor when physicians grouped together to discuss an anonymous patient’s case, medical students and residents surrounding the group listening. I desperately wanted to be one of them. But in college I learned that the real reason I wanted to be a physician was to both participate in medical research and introduce a newer manner of handling patient care. In college I was part of an organization called GlobeMed which strived under the message that healthcare was a right not a privilege. We worked to raise money for a clinic in Ecuador which tried to integrate Western and ethnic medicine to the locals. The doctors in the clinic worked as a resource of the people and respected their culture and customs in their practice. I want to be a physician so that I may execute that same philosophy with my patients. A physician may be the one who is more knowledgable in medicine, but overall the choice has to remain with the patient. The relationship between the patient and physician is about respect, not one telling the other what to do. We are equals and I want to be a doctor so that I can emphasize this philosophy into the field along with my scientific interests.
4. What area of medicine are you interested in? I am leaning toward anesthesiology, because of its connection with the courses I’ve taken, such as Medical Chemistry, but I am open to learning about other specialities. I do hope to teach what I learn in the future, if the opportunity is presented to me.
5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? The coolest experience I had was working on the Colgate Project. The project focused on analyzing the influence of Arginine as a buffer against acid secretions of bacteria strains in the mouth. We have done other experiments, such as testing for levels of certain elements, such as Tin and Fluoride, in other toothpaste brands. I was trained and later myself trained other students on mastering the Ion Chromatography machine, which is complex and interesting mechanism. I used my skills and knowledge from Quantitative Analysis (being the only in the lab with a background in chemistry) to analyze the results and frequently present the results with the biology lab we worked with. I also helped run experiments growing the bacteria we studied and filtering them. The work resulted in two abstracts and a paper which is in development. My partner and I went to present our 2017 findings at a International Research conference in San Francisco.
6. What is your favorite book? This list is way too long for my to list everything so I’ll try and give as much as I can remember from the top of my head. Jane Eyre, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Thorn (Intisar Khanane), The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, The Outsiders, Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, Speak(Lauren Anderson), Monarchy (David Starkey), The Six Wives of Henry VIII (David Starkey), The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, In Memoriam(Tennyson), The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the list goes on.
7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I play the violin, love classical music and I am a huge fan of ice skating, though I’ve never done it.
Originally premed of the week 7/17/2017
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