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Two Bloomfield College Students Spent Summer in Pre-Medical Enrichment Program

By Alicia Cook
 
Over the summer, two Bloomfield College students participated in six-week enrichment programs geared toward students interested pursuing a career in a health profession.
 
Tyrone Fernandes ’21 was a member of the Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep program, and Jozetta Thomas ’21 took part in the PULSE program at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
 
In addition to the two programs being related to the medical field, the primary goal of both PULSE and NERA is to provide students from underrepresented and/or educationally and financially disadvantaged backgrounds exposure to medical professions.  
 
According to their website, the Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) MedPrep HCOP Academy Program is a partnership between Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai's Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Manhattan-Staten Island Area Health Education Center. The program is free.
 
During the program, Tyrone Fernandes, a biology major at the College and a graduate of Science Park High School in Newark, attended medical conferences, all while receiving MCAT prep and networking with medical professionals. He took courses in physics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and biostats. 
 
“The program increased my passion to attend medical school,” shared Fernandes. “I met the dean of the New Jersey Medical School, individuals from the admission boards, and got tips on how to avoid common mistakes during a MedSchool interview. I received free Critical Analysis and Reading Skills(CARS) prep, a portion of the MCAT that individuals typically struggle with on the MCAT exam.”
 
Fernandes received over 20 acceptance letters from colleges and universities and chose Bloomfield College after he was awarded generous grants and scholarships. He knew he wanted to attend a school with small class sizes that was close to New York City and still close to home and his mother.
 
He plans on becoming a pediatrician and is dedicated to achieving his dream, no matter what obstacles may stand in his way.
 
“Nothing in life comes easily, so you can’t allow minor roadblocks to hinder your success,” said Fernandes. “Do not allow outsiders to discourage you and tell you what you are or are not capable of; do not allow one bad grade to discourage you from pursuing your dream, just try harder the next time. You learn more from failure than from success, so do not be afraid to fail. It not only teaches you discipline, but also what not to do in the future. It builds character, and provides various insights.”
 
Jozetta Thomas ’21, a biology major who was also initially accepted into the NERA program, chose to take part in the PULSE program at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
 
PULSE provides academic, clinical, research and service learning opportunities with a focus on urban health needs. Developed by the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU), the PULSE program helps students become lifelong learners and empowers them to use their knowledge to make a difference in their communities.
 
The program culminates with the PULSE Symposium. At the symposium, students formally present posters highlighting their summer work or research projects to faculty, family and friends. 
 
Thomas, a graduate of LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, plans on becoming a Physician Assistant. She honed in on this profession thanks to her experience in the PULSE Program, where she was exposed to various medical field careers.
 
During the Program she took a chemistry course and a participated in a Verbal Reasoning’s workshop. She volunteered at a local organization and presented a poster on her experience. Once every week a physician served as a guest speaker and gave a presentation on topics like pediatrics, cardiology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, and trauma surgery. Thomas had the opportunity to visit different facilities such as physical therapy school and the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
 
Next summer she plans to be enrolled at ASI Career Institute in the medical assistant program. 
 
“If I were to offer any advice to Bloomfield College students, future and present, it would be
to picture your life with your goals already accomplished, once you accept that those goals can be reached, you can dedicate 90% of your time to achieve those goals” said Thomas. “Once I established that my goals were my destiny, there was no obstacle nor condition that could convince me that my dreams could not become a reality.”
 
Thomas, who had never strayed far from home, was initially drawn to the tight-knit community of Bloomfield College.
 
“One major quality that I expected my future college or university to have was acknowledging the concept of individualism,” said Thomas. “I wanted a college that viewed me as an individual, not just another number in a mass population of students. Bloomfield College makes me feel like an individual.”