Tell us a bit about your personal journey. What led you to medical school?
I was fortunate to have two physicians inspire me from a young age. One of them was my pediatrician, Dr. Michael Geraldi, who treated me for asthma when I was a child and a teenager. I was endlessly fascinated by how anyone could be so brilliant and knowledgeable as well as friendly and pleasant. He encouraged me, which is what initially drew me to the field of medicine.
Later, in college, I was mentored by Dr. Edgar Pierre, an anesthesiologist. I was studying microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami and Dr. Pierre helped guide me to understand what I needed to do to get in to medical school—things that went beyond academics like shadowing physicians, doing volunteer work, and conducting research. I was inspired by both of them to pursue my current path. When I tell Dr. Pierre that I will be specializing in anesthesiology, he knows it’s because of his influence, which is great.
Tell us what led you to New York Medical College.
When I originally applied to medical school, I was not accepted. It may be hard to believe, but not getting in to medical school was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I wasn’t really ready for the rigors of medical school, and I needed the extra years to prepare. Instead of going to medical school, I was accepted to NYMC’s Basic Medical Sciences (BMS) Program. Although I had to work very hard in the BMS program, the classes were at a slower pace. The whole experience of the master’s program set the stage for medical school, so I was ready for it when I got accepted.
What challenges do you see for yourself once you graduate from NYMC?
The same challenge we all face now as medical students: finding time for yourself. The schedule is so busy, it is easy to forgo going to the gym or playing piano or hanging out with friends. But these kinds of things are so important for mental health. They are what makes us human.
What advice do you have for students entering the School of Medicine?
I would tell incoming SOM students that you are never alone in this process. One of the greatest quality of NYMC is its supportive community—there are more than 200 students in our class, plus faculty and staff. And everyone is there for one another—doing simple things like posting study guides or posting videos to prepare for a test. But these simple things make for a great community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Is there an NYMC class that is particularly memorable for you?
My cell biology class in the Master’s Program. It was sort of a “feared” class because it is very challenging. I started to do well in it, and to do very well in another difficult class, pharmacology. The good news was that these challenging classes helped me discover an approach to studying that worked for me, and this gave me a lot of confidence to move forward to medical school.
What achievement are you most proud of at NYMC?
I am proud of the whole experience at NYMC – doing well in the master’s program, getting accepted to the School of Medicine, and recently completing my USMLE Step 2 boards.
Being elected by my peers to be the Student Senate President is also great. The Student Senate works to improve the overall student experience. I hope we can do that, and I hope my term as president will be an achievement I’m proud of by this time next year!
But the thing I am truly most proud of is meeting and getting engaged to my fiancée, Nadine Shnayderman, another NYMC SOM student. We met in the master’s program (I would take her grocery shopping since she didn’t have a car and I did). Now, we are planning our wedding for December, will “match” together in the spring, and go on to the next stage of our lives together as physicians.