“FSU introduced me to a variety of organizations and programs that inspired me to apply to medical school.”
- Around the globe: Lived in Texas, Oregon and Costa Rica
- To relax, I… Go to FSU Ground
- Community search: Join the Health Living-Learning community
- Preferred place of study: Dirac Scientific Library
- Helping my peers: Served as an organic chemistry tutor and program leader for undergraduate research opportunities
Senior Priscilla Reyes entered Florida State University eager to learn more about public health. And learned that she did, through her participation in campus health programs, volunteer opportunities, and the creation of an organization for future health professionals.
Now she is ready for graduation and ready to continue her studies.
Reyes’ public health major courses have led her to involvement with organizations such as the Undergraduate Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity & Excellence program, or USSTRIDE, and Big Bend Hospice.
His interest in public health grew out of personal experiences.
She said the problems she encountered in the public health system led to disenchantment, which led to action. She created a student organization, “Make Medicine Human”, which would allow speakers with disabilities and disorders to share their stories.
Reyes said she hopes the speakers’ presentations will inspire members of her organization to become more empathetic future healthcare professionals.
She emphasizes the power of first-hand experience in the medical field for students and, inspired by her involvement with USSTRIDE, she is a Certified Physician Assistant at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
Reyes participated in the FSU-FAMU Collaborative Project on Global Health, in which she was committed to addressing the health care needs of rural populations in Honduras. She thanks the project team for their decision to continue her studies.
“The empathetic and passionate medical students and staff on the team inspired me to continue my medical education,” Reyes said.
When not working at the hospital or on campus, Reyes volunteers to serve in vulnerable communities in Tallahassee. She credits her FSU mentors for keeping her motivated while balancing work, studies, and involvement in student organizations.
How did your time at Florida State shape your plans after graduation?
FSU introduced me to a variety of organizations and programs that inspired me to apply to medical school. USSTRIDE has supported me tremendously in this goal by providing scholarships for clinical experiences and tutoring. The opportunity inspired me to volunteer and work as a certified medical assistant to gain more experience before applying to medical school. Being an organic chemistry tutor and program leader for undergraduate research opportunities has further enhanced my enjoyment of teaching, which I hope to continue.
How has your involvement in the Global Health Collaboration Project developed your career goals?
The Global Health Collaborative project introduced me to concepts such as culturally aware intervention and the foundations of complex and productive teamwork. Working through the challenges of rural medicine developed my new focus of helping uninsured and rural communities.
What inspired you to start your organization “Make Medicine Human” and what impact do you hope it will have on FSU?
“Make Medicine Human” was an idea that grew out of my freshman year at FSU. My mother’s epilepsy drew my attention to positive and negative experiences within the medical system, and I wanted to prevent the problems we faced from happening again. My Health Living Learning Community Advisor, Angela Sehgal, guided me in creating my campus organization that invites speakers to discuss their illness or disability and medical experiences with future health professionals and to organize a question-and-answer session for members. At the end of each presentation, the speaker pleads for an outside organization to donate our members’ funds.
How has your work at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital impacted your career trajectory?
My work as a Certified Physician Assistant at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital with the Office of Internal Medicine has further fueled my passion and curiosity for primary care specialties. The experience taught me the essential aspects of the dynamic and direct experience of patient care necessary to become a future well-rounded healthcare professional. I am incredibly grateful for my work because it has confirmed to me that I am running towards a goal that I am truly passionate about and that I am determined to achieve.
How has your volunteer experience influenced the type of brand you hope to make in your chosen field?
Providing companionship to patients at Big Bend Hospice introduced me to how a hospice works and the incredible healthcare team that makes it up. Working with the elderly population in the hospice prompted me to consider adult or geriatric medicine for the future. Once I become a medical professional, I strive to project compassion and empathy towards these patients. Although not related to medicine, I also volunteer at the Kearney Center, a homeless shelter where volunteers can work in the kitchen. Serving a community outside of your field is important in valuing the work that other individuals contribute to society. The Kearney Center introduced me to compassionate staff and leaders who serve the homeless community and inspire me.
How did you overcome the challenges you encountered during your academic career?
When a challenge arises in my academic career, I seek advice from my mentors – staff, faculty, and advisors at FSU. They give me the motivation to keep moving forward. Every challenge poses a potential solution, and I foster perseverance in finding it with the support of my family and friends. Being a Certified Physician Assistant reminds me daily of what my future holds as I overcome these challenges.
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