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Preparing for a career in medicine, Alice Agyekum ’22 (math, pre-health) served a high-level research internship on heart-valve replacements and the patients who receive them. She says that with encouragement from loved ones and Dickinson mentors and friends, she’s learned the value of pushing forward to pursue opportunities that may at first seem out of reach.
Orange, New Jersey.
Clubs and organizations:
Dickinson Pre-Health Society, Dickinson Club Tennis, Black Student Union and Dickinson Catholic Campus Ministry.
Dean’s List and National Society of Leadership and Success.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
The Mummy, Burlesque and Mulan.
On choosing Dickinson:
I found out about Dickinson through my college prep program, New Jersey SEEDS. I applied for the Discover Diversity at Dickinson fly-in and got accepted, and during my three-day stay on Dickinson’s campus, I realized that Dickinson embodied everything that I was looking for in my undergraduate experience. Class sizes were small, there were a number of activities to participate in, and the overall community, especially among students of color, was very welcoming.
Favorite places on campus:
Tome/Rector, the HUB cushies and Landis House.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
After I graduate, I plan go to medical school to pursue a career in cardiology, pediatrics or gynecology. I plan to take a gap year to volunteer at local hospitals and possibly work as a medical assistant or do research.
During the summer I coach tennis for kids, ages 6-18, through Greater Newark Tennis and Education.
About my internship:
In the summer of 2020, I interned with UPMC Pinnacle at the Pinnacle Health Cardiovascular Institute in Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania. I found out about the internship through an alum of Dickinson College whom I shadowed, and then I learned more details about the internship through Debi Swarner and applied via Handshake. The internship appealed to me because my goal is to work in the medical field, and I saw this internship as a way to experience everything that medicine has to offer. The internship was originally supposed to be a shadowing experience at the UPMC Pinnacle hospital in Harrisburg, but due to the pandemic, the internship became a research-based one.
During my internship, I learned that critical thinking, asking questions, taking in different perspectives and communicating effectively is very important, and I was able to see a lot of these skills at work at the cardiovascular institute.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… Chadwick Boseman.
About my research:
For this internship, I had to do research on transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVRs) and the patients who underwent these procedures. This project required knowledge in creating spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and inputting equations to make certain calculations. In addition to operating Excel, I had to learn to navigate the electronic medical record (EMR) known as EPIC, which is used by UPMC Pinnacle.
Best thing about my Dickinson experience:
The amazing friends and connections that I have made and the opportunities that I have been introduced to. I have made friendships that I know will last beyond my undergraduate years, and the opportunities that I have been granted will help me as I pursue a career in medicine.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
It doesn’t hurt to go for opportunities that seem out of reach. Coming from an underrepresented background, I often have moments when I feel like I don’t belong. For me, the imposter syndrome is very real, and at times, I overlook certain opportunities because I doubt myself and believe that there are others who are more than qualified for the opportunities that are presented. Had it not been for the encouragement of my friends, family and Dickinson faculty, I would have missed out on an externship and an internship. Because of this, I have learned that no matter the number of experiences on your resume, or lack thereof, you may be the candidate that an organization is looking for.
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Published January 4, 2021