GSBMS Student Lillian Huang Makes an Impact During COVID-19 Crisis
GSBMS student making the most of her knowledge, skills and aspirations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not one to sit idle, Lillian Huang, an M.S. candidate in the Basic Medical Sciences Program in the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences (GSBMS), is making the most of her knowledge, skills and aspirations during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As a healthy pre-med student who has the privilege of a safe dorm room, access to the internet and a supportive network of friends and family, I felt it was right to dedicate some of my time to helping those who may not be so lucky,” explains Ms. Huang. In addition to maintaining her online studies, she is organizing virtual tutoring for children being homeschooled, collecting personal protective equipment (PPE), and administering a GoFundMe page for initiatives at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York.
With homeschooling and online education being the norm now, Ms. Huang became aware of reports highlighting the complications of a home environment not being conducive to learning, insufficient electronics and technology among children at home, issues with computer literacy and the general stress and anxiety from the COVID-19 pandemic. “While home-caregivers may be able to provide academic support, it is likely that they themselves are working from home or may not be specialized in a particular subject. As graduate students, we are dedicated to promoting learning at its best and can serve as virtual tutors,” explained Ms. Huang. She has already lined up several volunteer tutors and is planning with local high schools to find tutees who would benefit from tutor support via Zoom or Skype. “As students of higher education, many of us already have experience with tutoring or in various subject fields. We may therefore bridge the gap with the downfalls of online learning.”
Ms. Huang, along with some of her classmates, are also collecting PPE to be donated to Westchester Medical Center, White Plains Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan and Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. She helped organize three supply drop-offs at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla—the last of the three scheduled for Saturday, April 25—as well as a pick-up service. She says they have received a positive response from local sources including hotels, nail salons, tattoo parlors and construction companies. Thanks to social media and a radio spot on a local station by Naveena Sunkara, School of Medicine Class of 2021, so far more than 700 individual PPE items have been collected. Ms. Huang is also exploring making homemade protective face masks with other members of the New York Medical College community.
Ms. Huang also decided to help the COVID-19 cause by starting a GoFundMe page for Elmhurst Hospital, at the epicenter of the pandemic and where her father is a physician. Having converted to a COVID-19-only hospital, money raised will assist the hospital in acquiring additional PPE and testing kits, as well as supplementing ancillary needs such as transportation and housing for traveling medical staff and ultimately improve patient care.
Concluding with the idea that, to get through this, we must all do our part, Ms. Huang offers, “Quarantining and social distancing is a big deal. You may not feel like a hero staying home all day in your pajamas but you are making a big difference. We are stronger together. Be clean, be safe and be kind.”