PSYCH 4305: Introduction to Psychopharmacology

During my 2019 Autumn semester, I was given the opportunity to take Dr. Gary Wenk’s Introduction to Psychopharmacology course before he retired from teaching that subject.  To preface, I had learned of this course at my freshman orientation when my advisor suggested that I take it before Dr. Wenk retired.  After reading some student reviews and information about Dr. Wenk, I was very eager to take the class.  The class was so popular, I had to sign up for enrollment at the end of my Autumn 2018 semester.

In this course, Dr. Wenk taught about the various effects, pathways, transmitters, and properties associated with many pharmaceuticals and other drugs.  We learned about the history of certain drug molecules, their uses and abuses, and how the brain is affected by these molecules.  Dr. Wenk’s background and enthusiasm made the class very exciting which allowed me to learn in a new way.  Although the class only consisted of two grades (the midterm and the final), Dr. Wenk wanted his students to put in work and accel in his course.  This class sparked my interest in psychopharmacology and opened new doors for my future.  As a result of learning from Dr. Wenk, I intend to look into a minor in pharmaceuticals or psychopharmacology to learn more about the field and strengthen the skills necessary to be a physician.

Vision Statement

My journey at The Ohio State University has altered many aspects of my life and has strengthened the skills I need to be successful.  Taking a look back at my first two years, I have been able to meet a lot of new people and take many fascinating classes that have shown me the direction I want to go in life.  I particularly enjoyed the opportunities presented to me through the Scholar’s program,  as I was able to hear from physicians, current medical students, and admission officers that helped shape my expectations of life after undergrad.  Through my neuroscience major courses and a mixture of general education, I have solidified my passion for medicine.  Along with this, volunteering and researching at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has given me a glimpse at the career of a physician.


Moving forward into the second half of my undergraduate studies, I will continue to take pre-med classes to prepare myself for the MCAT and eventually medical school.  I will also continue volunteering at Nationwide Children’s and learning more about the field of medicine.  I hope to join more clubs and volunteer more, specifically unrelated to medicine, to diversify my workload and broaden my interests.

Microbial Pathogenesis Research

Throughout the summer and autumn semesters of 2019, I have been involved in student research at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute attached to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital working with Dr. Kevin Mason in the Microbial Pathogenesis laboratory.  Throughout my time in the lab, I have learned a lot about microbiology and genetics through my work on Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli.  I followed protocols on how to create mutant versions of bacteria, purify samples, and performed various experiments to test specific components of each.  Along with this, I gained knowledge of many scientific techniques such as PCR, ligation, growth analysis, and bacterial staining.  Through this experience, I have also been given the opportunity to work on several other projects that may be published within my time here at Ohio State – effectively putting myself and the work I do out into the real world. I plan to continue this work into future semesters so that I can learn more, participate in the advancement of medicine, and grow as a person.


This ePortfolio is composed of various moments I find important to the growth and development of my career here at Ohio State, as well as various goals, career ideas, and reflections I have gathered along the way.

Scholars Events

On October 4, 2018, I had the opportunity to hear from three different researchers regarding the opioid crisis both locally and on a world-wide scale.

One researcher looked at the crisis from a sociological standpoint, developing a link between domestic violence and opioid abuse.  She conducted studies on various groups of women and noted that counseling in domestic violence cases often results in the survivor coming out about substance abuse.  She claimed that service providers are struggling to combat opioid abuse victims and there have been cases of victims overdosing in abuse-help shelters.  Her next step in research is to conduct phone surveys with domestic abuse survivors to discuss opioid addiction and solidify the link between abuse and substance dependency in various socio-economic locations.

Another researcher was developing methods to reduce opioid abuse through the implementation of a virtual reality distraction.  He played a clip from a Chinese parable which depicted an army general in need of a surgical procedure but lacked pain medication.  To reduce the sensation of pain, the general played chess to distract himself (non-pharmaceutical pain reduction) which, as the parable shows, was an effective method.  This researcher conducted a study on out-patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in which a 3-D immersive virtual environment was used to distract children in need of burn dressing changes.  Conductors of the study asked the participants various questions about their perceived pain with and without the virtual reality distraction and concluded that patient satisfaction was around 96%.  Along with this, 96% of participants stated they would use this method in future procedures and overall, observed and perceived pain was reduced with VR technology.  The next step in his research is the testing of the “BuyBack” program in which companies buy opioids back from patients to help reduce addiction and he plans to generalize his findings through the repetition of this study in different children’s hospitals.

The last researcher took a psychological standpoint and discussed the creation of a ‘Best Practices Model’ to use in cases of opioid addiction and abuse.  He stated that the opioid crisis is very complex, and the lack of education and sufficient interventions leads to many opioid users relapsing continuously until overdose.  The model, pictured below, shows opioid users (or people with OUD) on the left with an event or injury leading up to their inevitable treatment.  The three flow-charts depicted on the right show the modes of recovery from an opioid-related event: emergency services, treatment centers, and pathways to recovery.  He emphasized that people using opioids will usually relapse without proper resources and a fluid, step-by-step recovery process.  This researcher was given a grant to conduct a study in which 50 people with OUD will be questioned in a survey along with 50 workers from treatment centers and 50 workers from emergency services in order to depict where the process of recovery is flawed and why so many opioid users are not reaching full independence from the drug.  With this data, he will be able to create an effective model for recovery in order to reduce the number of opioid users and opioid-related deaths.  This was my favorite presentation, as I did not realize there was a lack of a ‘Best Practices Model’ for opioid addiction and with this, there could be a dramatic decline in relapse.  I look forward to hearing more about this initiative and seeing how the model he creates will be implemented in the recovery process of users.



During my senior year in high school, I was given the opportunity to shadow Dr. Schumer, an ophthalmologist in central Ohio, who founded the ReVision LASIK and Cataract Surgery Center.  When I arrived at his office that morning, I was given a pair of scrubs and was briefed on the surgeries that I was going to observe, making me feel as if I was the doctor in the situation.  Throughout the course of the day, I was able to oversee four cataract surgeries and two laser eye or LASIK surgeries, all of which were performed by Dr. Schumer.

Prior to this event, I had no knowledge or interest in optometry but was excited to be around the professional setting of the operating room and learn more about the field.  During my time with Dr. Schumer, I learned what a cataract is, how it is removed, what replaces the old lens, and how technology has shaped the modern world of optometry.  Dr. Schumer explained to me that the eye surgery is conducted using a procedure called ‘phacoemulsification.’  This method uses ultrasound waves to break apart the lens so the cataract can be removed, while a personalized intra-ocular lens (IOL) is placed inside the eye to allow for clear vision.  Patients are awake for the surgery and remain conscious throughout the entire duration of operation, so Dr. Schumer allowed me to ask patients various questions about their vision before and after the procedure.  This portion of the experience was impactful to me because I could feel the appreciation and amazement in each patients voice.

Personally, watching this procedure was extremely fascinating and this experience overall helped further my knowledge and interest in the medical field.


As I began my second semester at Ohio State, I wanted to become more involved in student life and join one of the numerous clubs offered at the university.  I was invited to attend a general meeting for the NeuroLaw student organization, a discussion group merging the extensive fields of neuroscience and political science.  At these meetings, a group of thirty or less science-involved students discuss various questions surrounding a particular journal article chosen for that week.  At the first meeting I attended, the article debated whether the insertion of human “mini-brains” into rodents has the potential to broaden scientists’ understanding of neurological disease while considering the ethics surrounding potential consciousness in these subjects.  After reading the article, questions were posed such as “Should patients be asked specifically to consent to organoid growth in addition to other lab uses?” and “Is there an ethical issue with human-animal blurring (producing human organs in other animals)?”. Image result for neurolaw Each student is able to voice their opinion on each topic and debate the points of others in hopes to reach a group consensus.  I fell in love with the depth of conversation and enjoyed hearing the opinions of my peers as I am able to give my own input but also learn.  Since this meeting, I have been very involved in the organization and hope to take a leadership position on the executive board in the future.  Through this experience, I am broadening my knowledge of political science, gaining new insight surrounding research, and building upon the information in which I am learning in my courses.  I see my involvement in this organization beneficial to my future as a physician as I am acquiring knowledge on current research and gaining new skills in medical discourse.  More information on this organization can be found on the designated website:


About Me

Greetings and welcome to my ePortfolio! My name is Gabriel Jelkin, but I go by Gabe for short.  I was born and raised in Westerville, Ohio (just north of Columbus) where I graduated from Westerville South High School with an International Baccalaureate diploma.  I have always dreamt of attending THE Ohio State University due to my mother being an alumni and my sister a current student.  I am a neuroscience major on a pre-med path with goals of attending The Ohio State University College of Medicine after getting my degree.  One transformational experience in my life occurred when I was eleven and was gifted the opportunity to observe various careers in the medical field through my local school district.

Throughout middle and high school, science was my main interest due to my ability to comprehend and apply the material both in the classroom and in the real world.  Having realized this passion for science, I had my mind set on entering the field of medicine since I was twelve.   From that point forward, my primary interests lay in the medical field such as neurosurgery, anesthesiology, and cosmetic surgery; however, I am open to all career options in the field at this point in time until more doors are opened to me and I can investigate each path.  In my time at Ohio State, I hope to learn valuable lessons through my coursework and extracurriculars, participate in as many opportunities to help me flourish as a person, and help others make the transitions I have already made into the ‘real’ world.

Year in Review

Autumn 2018 Semester in Review:

This semester was by far the most challenging academic position I have been in since the beginning of my education.  Through my courses, I was required to access my learning style and make adjustments to fit my new environment which was difficult.  However, through these adjustments, I also learned a lot about myself as a student and a part of society.  Having been a straight-A student throughout middle and high school without the need to study much or do a lot of work outside of class, coming to college and having to work around the clock to meet these same standards was a cultural shock.  Majority of my free time during the week was spent studying or doing assignments, which taught me valuable skills such as time management, long-term focus, and perseverance.  These skills learned through disciplined study will be used throughout my time at Ohio State and into my career in the future, thus this semester was very impactful on my personality and life-vision.  One of the best parts of my first semester at OSU was having the chance to meet new people and adjust to this new situation together, as we are all facing new obstacles.  I am looking forward to what the future holds for me in the coming semesters and growing more as a person both academically and socially.


Spring 2019 Semester in Review:

Although I stated that the Autumn 2018 semester was the hardest academic load of my career, this semester beats that by far!  By challenging myself with 18 credit hours of rigorous coursework, I faced many hardships throughout the semester.  Through this experience, I was able to develop pre-existing skills such as time management, stress control,  resilience, and endurance.  Along with my difficult workload, I was able to find a research position this semester at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in order to expose myself to the trials and tribulations associated with the field of scientific investigation.  My favorite aspect of this semester was definitely being involved in my MedColl class offered through the OSU COM.  Through this course, I was guided through the medical school application process, shown the various levels of coursework and residency, and given the opportunity to speak with physicians and other medical professionals to learn more about the field.  My time at Ohio State thus far has been very developmental and enthralling, and I look forward to the years to come as I will keep growing, learning, and refining various aspects of my life.


Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020 Semesters in Review:

Yet again, it seems that my courses keep getting harder and harder but with this comes interesting concepts to learn with refined academic skills.  I challenged myself with a rigorous course load including many major-required classes and other general education electives.  My autumn semester included many of the courses needed to declare the neuroscience major in order to begin focus on a specialty.  I enjoyed learning more about the nervous system and psychology, which effectively deepened my passion for medicine.  My spring semester consisted of various gen-eds like Intro to Film, Literature, and Politics but I also took Organic Chemistry and found myself thoroughly challenged.  This semester brought diversity in learning through non-science related courses, but also adversity through what is considered a ‘weed-out’ class.

Throughout both of these semesters, I researched and volunteered at Nationwide Children’s Hospital which allowed me the opportunity to experience work in the medical field and build skills needed to be successful.  Unfortunately, this experience was cut short due to COVID-19 which inevitably stopped me from continuing this work into a summer internship.  I look forward to my future at Ohio State with goals of more achievement and knowledge.


  • Global Awareness: I believe that being cognizant of issues around the world and aware of cultures other than your own is very important when discussing a well-rounded individual.  Being appreciative of diversity and embracing new ideas are traits that I strive to maintain and grow upon each and every day.   A very impactful example of this was my trip to Europe during the summer of 2016 when I joined 3,000 other students in a global leadership conference to learn about the importance of food in different cultures.  I had the opportunity to hear from various culinary arts experts with varying backgrounds which discussed the role of food in their culture.   I listened to Anthony Bourdain speak about his journey to understand and accept new cultural ideas through food, as well as Stephen Ritz speak about his ‘Green Bronx Machine’ — a K-12+ school where impoverished, academically-disadvantaged students grow vegetables and improve their academic performance. Hearing the passion in these men’s voices solidified my understanding of the importance of global awareness in my everyday life
  • Original Inquiry: A big part of being a successful student is the ability to critically think and problem-solve in order to come to an original conclusion.  Ohio State is one of the largest research universities in the nation and provides numerous opportunities to grow in this area such as research opportunities in labs, a wide variety of courses to challenge critical thinking skills, and a campus-wide emphasis on personal growth.  I plan to grow this skill in my time at Ohio State and a personal goal of mine to strive for deep, interconnected thought with meaningful conclusions.
  • Academic Enrichment: Taking a variety of difficult classes to challenge yourself and grow mentally is one of the most important aspects of college as many skills are developed in the process such as time management, critical thinking, and perseverance.  I strive to challenge myself every day and grow into a well-balanced individual through my coursework in my time at Ohio State.
  • Leadership Development: The development of leadership skills is one of the hardest yet most satisfying tasks one can endure.  Having the ability to lead a team of people to overcome a challenge or work together for the greater good of others is one of the most important characteristics to have when discussing a well-rounded individual in society.  I have always strived to take a leadership role in any cohort I am involved in because leading and helping those around me not only develops my own skills but encourages the growth in the peers I am surrounding by.  This mutual development is very important to me and having the ability to influence those around you is vital to socio-economic growth.
  • Service Engagement: Serving the community and surrounding areas is undoubtedly beneficial for everyone involved.  Being an active member of society is very important to me because if it were not for those before me who took service engagement seriously, I would not be in the position I am today.  I personally have benefitted from the service of others on numerous occasions and I take it into my own hands to reciprocate that action.  One example of this can be seen through my involvement with my local school district, where I had to opportunity to serve disabled children in one of the elementary schools near my home.  I planned and oversaw an 8-month project to facilitate the learning of basic motor and thinking skills through small, easy to comprehend ‘task-boxes’ where children could individually learn a process such as color matching, numerical order, or other everyday skills (reading a thermometer, labeling a calendar, etc.).  Through this service action, I gained valuable skills that I use to this day such as leadership, long-term goal-setting, perseverance, and much more.  In my time at Ohio State, I plan to develop these skills further by engaging in various service projects in Columbus and continuing the actions of others through personal involvement.


Throughout my time at Ohio State, I have been given the opportunity to academically challenge myself and hear from many brilliant physicians and researchers – all of which continually fuel my interest in the medical field.  As of now, I am working towards my Neuroscience bachelor’s degree on a pre-med path with hopes of attending The Ohio State University College of Medicine after graduation.