Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2013
Prompted by her own experience of studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Heli Shah '13 is leading sessions once a week for pre-med students who are studying for the MCAT.
Shah took the MCAT last year and says, "Looking back on my spring, I know I would have loved having someone that would have provided me with some structure to my studying. Therefore, I figured if I could provide some structure, advice, and support to the students that will be taking the MCATs this summer, it'd be time well spent."
Shah leads the sessions in the conference room of the Intercultural Affairs House every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
Last fall, Alejandra Molina, director of intercultural affairs and assistant professor of Spanish, asked Shah to help with a project to make MCAT prep books available to all pre-med students on campus. Shah then began working with Molina and Scott McPhail, assistant director of health professions counseling and fellowship advising "To get the word out on campus and to start weekly sessions this semester," she says.
According to Shah, everyone gets different passages and questions on the MCAT, so how hard it is depends on the particular set of questions and the student's strengths. Questions on the test include biology, organic chemistry, physics and verbal reasoning.
Shah, who is from Vestal, N.Y., is graduating this May with a degree in biochemistry and Asian studies. She studied abroad in India in the fall of 2011. Shah has been involved in the South Asian Culture Club, is a chemistry teaching assistant, and has worked with Associate Professor of Chemistry Justin Miller on research projects. Her previous internships include the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she served as a research intern in a translational cancer research lab and also shadowed an oncologist, and the Hospital for Special Surgery, where she shadowed physicians in orthopedic surgery and physiatry, or rehabilitative medicine.
Next fall Shah, a Blackwell Scholar, will attend Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. She is interested in oncology and global healthcare.
"Along with a career in the U.S., I want to spend some time treating patients in developing countries and help them make public policy changes that will improve quality and access to medical care," she says.