Why did you come to Illinois Tech?
There are several reasons why I decided to come to Illinois Tech; one of which was acceptance into the BS/DO program with the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Downers Grove; another was the simple desire to explore a new place; and a generous financial package helped too. I was born in Texas, grew up North Carolina, and matured in California. I thought that for the next major event in my life, i.e University, I wanted to be in a new location. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to study in Chicago, I took it eagerly.
Why did you choose your major and specialization?
Truthfully, I wanted to pursue some sort of computing degree, and ITM has the least amount of math requirements. It wasn’t until after I had chosen my degree did I realize I made the right choice. I truly enjoyed the application and practical aspects of the degree and it really allowed me to dive into various computer topics from data management, to system security, as well as information technology policy review. I chose system security because I was always interested in areas, such as “penetration testing” or “ethical hacking,” as a way of finding vulnerabilities. Once I learned more about the policy-making and auditing aspects behind system security, I only became more interested. Especially being interested in healthcare, with its rampant ransomware and cyberattacks over the past few years, I thought it would be a great idea to grow those skills and knowledge. For me, medicine is an imperfect science because it requires the caregivers to provide essentially a “perfect” answer to an imperfect question that is riddled with holes due to lack of data or information. As a result, I would like to help integrate my knowledge of information technology and management to work with electronic data collection to help make those “imperfect decisions”, just a byte closer to “perfection”.
What is your favorite thing about being a student at Illinois Tech?
I truly love and appreciate the small and “homey” feel of Illinois Tech. Not only did it provide the opportunity to forge relationships with my professors, but it also allowed me a more tight-knit community with my friends and peers.
How has Illinois Tech helped you?
I believe that as a tech school, we have a higher percentage of introverted students. Something I’ve learned is if you put introverts together, eventually someone will crack and start shifting toward a more outgoing personality. I, personally, feel that’s what happened to me. I was originally an introvert and simply preferred the quiet and solace of being alone, but, at some point, I realized I grew to be more outgoing and to instigate and lead conversations.
How are the courses like? How do they help you? (Prepare for jobs/career)
The ITM classes taught me real-world and applicable skills and not just the baseline concepts and theory. These classes have provided me skills I know how to utilize when the opportunity arises. Even my elective courses have allowed me to round myself out as a person by learning about different sociological perspectives.
How is the academic experience? How does it compare to your previous educational experience?
Despite a STEM and Technology focused curriculum, Illinois Tech does a wonderful job of ensuring that each student has opportunities and flexibility to round themselves out, personally, without the rigidity of coursework I've seen at other universities.
How is campus life? What do you like to do?
In terms of campus life, I love being able to hang out with my friends - bowling at The Bog, or simply sitting and talking about the latest “up and comings” in our lives. With such a hectic academic and research schedule, I relish the moments where I can just sit and relax with my friends. Otherwise, I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. During my earlier years at Illinois Tech, I would go out each weekend and take one of the trains to a random stop and just walk around and explore, then the following weekend I would travel one stop further and do the same thing. It was a great way to relax and give myself much needed recuperation.
Although it is not something I am currently pursuing, my experience working as a student lab assistant combined with skills learned in ITM courses have provided me internship offers with various companies in the health IT sector.
What were your concerns about coming to Illinois Tech?
I don’t think I really had any particular concerns about coming to Illinois Tech. When I arrived, I made sure to keep my perspectives opened and learn as much as I could. I didn’t want to subconsciously narrow my horizons so I tried to ensure I was always open to whatever came my way.
Do/did you have an on-campus job? If so, what?
I was a Student Assistant for the ITM department as well as a Student Ambassador for the Undergraduate Admissions department.
Where do you work?
Currently, I am not doing any paid work as I am in the middle of preparing for the MCAT this upcoming April.
What is your proudest moment as a student?
Hopefully, my proudest moment as a student will be walking to receive my diploma while my friends and family cheer me on at this upcoming commencement.
If I could do 1 thing over again it would be.
Although it’s cliché to say, I don’t have any regrets about my undergraduate experience here at Illinois Tech. Sure, there were some hiccups along the way, but those hiccups made me into the person I am today and I am sure as heck proud of all I have become.
What is the biggest challenge you faced as a student?
Time management. This is an issue I still struggle with today and I expect it to always be a challenge. Although I am able to manage my time well 85% of the time, the remaining 15% can always put a wrench in my plans. It’s up to me to prepare myself for the unexpected and ensure that I can rebound and keep on going.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
This summer I will apply to medical schools and I hope to matriculate Fall, 2018. However, I hope to continue my academic pursuits in information technology and receive the opportunity to apply my skills in medicine.
Advice for other students:
Just breathe. Take a step back, reflect upon your past, and marvel at the progress you’ve made. It’s important to charge forward, undeterred and uninhibited. Sometimes, though, that’s all we focus upon. It is important to continue advancing and not become complacent, but you can easily dwell upon future progress. But just breathe. There is so much more for us to do in the future, but we also have more space and time for peace and quiet.
It’s a rush, but also a slow journey. As humans, we want to look back and realize how much we loved doing something, and not only for the sake of completion. For me, I want to interweave my passion, love, and peace into every single thing that I do. Although I’ve struggled sometimes, I know that in the end I’m not living my life to satisfy others, but I’m living my life to pursue my dreams and passion. If it happens to satisfy others also - that’s just a bonus. At the end, I want to be able to look back and see that everything I created or did has peace, love, and passion intimately woven throughout.