By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
That was the word Aysha Bell, program manager at Grand Canyon University's Honors College used to describe the interaction among the 40 Honors STEMists, admissions representatives, faculty and graduate students from various graduate and professional schools who attended Dinner with Grads Tuesday night at GCU Golf Course.
The event, now in its third year, was geared toward Honors College sophomores and juniors with a 3.8 GPA or higher in a pre-health program. The goal was to provide the top-performing students with an authentic sense of what to consider before applying to medical school by connecting them with a multitude of GCU alumni and medical schools across Arizona.
Megan Flores, GCU class of 2016 and former Honors College Club president, was among the guests from Midwestern University, a health sciences graduate and professional school in Glendale. Since she graduated, Flores has also contributed toward research projects at Maricopa Medical Center.
During the event, Flores shared a few words of encouragement.
"Your hard work is going to pay off – the long nights studying, chemistry, service opportunities … all of that is really about taking the time to grow and take on leadership opportunities, go the extra mile and serve," she said. "And whatever you do, use your sources. The Honors College has a lot of resources who want to help you. I couldn’t have done it without their support."
She said of her experience at Midwestern, "People are constantly studying to become the best dentist or the best doctor. Everyone wants to know their material because there are boards you have to pass and patients at clinics you have to talk to. That pushes you to be at the top."
Throughout the two-hour event, professionally dressed students mingled with their former peers and potential graduate schools. They also spoke freely about their future prospects.
"I really hope to get into med school," said Samiha Mohsen, a pre-med student from Egypt who is also a member of the GCU women's swim team. "I’ve always wanted to be a doctor and I really wanted to meet all of the graduates who got into graduate school because that can be harder as an international student."
Mohsen said she spends a lot of her time volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center where she checks in patients, helps them get discharged and answers questions.
"I love seeing patients after their procedures and walking them to their cars. I love seeing how excited they get. I love going to the newborn section and witnessing mothers with their newborn babies. It’s the little moments that bring me joy," said Mohsen.
Sophomore Holly Hobgood asked about internship opportunities at Midwestern University, volunteering, getting into a residency and the application processes.
"It’s amazing to know how they look at hours that are not related to medicine in any way," said Hobgood. "They want to see that you are involved in other activities. What I like about these events is that they refocus you a bit. During school, it’s easy to worry about your grades and forget about the bigger picture."
Bell helped students prepare for the event by providing practical tips and lessons for starting a conversation, delivering an elevator speech, interacting appropriately, dressing conservatively and basic etiquette. She said the conversations Tuesday night were "fantastic."
"The people who are here tonight are giving great advice to these undergraduate students and the undergraduate students are hanging on to every word."
Honors College liaison intern Emily Ghena, who started the event as sophomore three years ago, said she ultimately hoped students gained acceptance into their ideal program and also their ideal school.
"Making connections, gaining information, networking – that’s going to be valuable when they go to apply for medical school," she said. "These students are exactly the kind of students graduate schools want to have so I think it’s a win for both sides."
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or [email protected]