- Majors: Neuroscience and Psychology
- Launch Career Community:
- Medicine and Health Professions
- Social Impact, Education, Law & Environment
- Launch Identity/Affinity Communities:
- International Student and Ethnic/ Racial Heritage
- On-Campus Job: Student Administrator at the Center for Academic Excellence.
- Clubs: Co-chair of the International Student Association
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Mexico City and raised in Singapore.
What is it about neuroscience that draws you to it?
I believe neuroscience gives us better insight into why and how our bodies behave the way they do. I also like that it incorporates a variety of fields including computational, molecular, and cognitive.
Have you done any internships?
I have two internships off-campus. One is at the Columbia Psychiatry-New York State Psychiatry Institute I started in the spring semester of my junior year. I work in a research lab that studies the effects of stressful and traumatic events on children, in particular, children with parents within the criminal justice system. We examine how these stressful events may impact the sleep quality, psychopathology, substance use, risk-taking, and impulsive decision making of the youth population. An extension of this study utilizes an MRI machine in combination with cognitive tasks for further assessment. I conduct psycho-social interviews to assess both the youth and/or the parents’ mental health status in Spanish and English. I was offered a job from this internship, so I have continued to work here once a week during my senior year.
Since I speak Spanish, I was referred to another internship at Columbia University Medical Center in the pediatric psychiatry department, which works with children from low-income families. Here I assist neurological screening to identify signs of language proficiency and learning disabilities.
(COVID-19 Update: Interns/volunteers were suspended in March, but since I am an employee at the NYS Psychiatric Institute I was asked to join a pilot study that can be done remotely. We call our participants and check up on their mental health due to the changes caused by COVID-19 to make sure they are up to date with the information. Unfortunately, I had to travel back to Singapore due to everything happening so I am no longer involved in the study.)
Have you done any NYC, Short or Long TRECs or have you studied abroad?
I did the ShortTREC to South Korea, summer of 2018, to study medical physics with Professor Kouh. The trip was absolutely amazing! Not only did I learn an abundant amount of information with local students but I was able to explore this beautiful country.
What is the issue(s) in the world that you are most passionate about?
I am most passionate about addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of underserved populations. There are many people worldwide who have absolutely no access to health care and who have to endure atrocities every day in their lives, and have no choice but to remain silent.
What are some of your favorite memories of Drew over the last 4 years?
My favorite memory is meeting my “family” (friends) here at Drew. I met most of them my first year and they are still my friends today. A few of us are finding an apartment to share together after graduation!
What is something you are most proud of?
Drew was 10,000 miles away from home, and I knew no one when I came to this country, but I leapt forward and took on the challenge. I make the most of any opportunity available to me.
Do you have any hobbies or interests you would like to share? Any fun facts?
I am a big movie fan and love playing chess. Fun fact? I am half-Mexican and Japanese but I grew up in Singapore!
What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I want to pursue my Ph.D. or Psy.D in clinical psychology and work for Doctors Without Borders.
What advice would you give first-year students?
It’s okay to not know what you want to do. Stress is inevitable but remember that you’re not alone and finally, surround yourself with people you genuinely like and care for! Connect more with professors, take the time to talk to them, don’t be shy. The professors at Drew are here to help and they love talking to students. Take advantage of this, a lot of schools are not like this and students here are very fortunate!