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.
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.
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)?”. 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: http://org.osu.edu/neurolaw/