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The Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2021

My Expectations from the Program

The Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program (SUMP) of the Hispanic Center of Excellence provides unique opportunities for students from underrepresented groups to which I belong. Therefore, my expectations from this program are rather high. I hope to observe and participate in a variety of activities, focusing on the development of my professional skills. Shadowing a mentor is an excellent opportunity to experience first-hand the environment of my future profession. Instead of merely listening to professors, I will be able to follow every move of a real doctor who has years of practical experience. I will have the opportunity to pay attention to the tiniest details and notice something new every day. I think that this will be a fantastic chance to learn about medicine from the inside, from the point of view of a practicing doctor, rather than as a student.

Another expectation is related to the opportunity to participate in a variety of medical lectures. At my university, all our professors are highly-esteemed, and their lectures are always informative and interesting. However, the SUMP provides access to a great concentration of learning material within a short time period. With the help of the program, I hope to enrich my professional knowledge and learn something new every day. Also, I think that my fellow participants will be able to share their opinions with each other, as well as the mentors, which will provide a chance to hear some constructive critiques and enable me to work on self-improvement.

The SUMP offers other exciting opportunities which I will gladly seize. Participation in the hands-on workshop is something I have been dreaming of for a long time. In real-life conditions, students will apply the knowledge they have gained over the last few years to show how good they are in their chosen field. Along with shadowing a mentor, this workshop is a unique chance for students to excel in their chosen sphere of medicine, and I would not like to miss such an opportunity.

Another aspect provided by the SUMP that I am looking forward to is the literature review under a research mentor’s guidance and the help of medical librarians. Being an eager learner and researcher, I always try to work on the improvement of my research skills. I believe that this option provided by the SUMP will play an important role in the enhancement of my skills and will give me lessons on how to conduct better research in the future. Literature research is an invaluable part of any serious scholarly work, and I think that by providing this option, the SUMP will enrich the participants’ skills on how to perform this vital search.

Finally, it is not only the learning opportunities that I am so much looking forward to on the program. I also expect to meet many eager young people just like me and hope to make new friendships. I want to see the light in their eyes and make sure that we are all on the same track of making the world a better place. Meeting with people belonging to underrepresented groups gives an opportunity to hear many exciting stories from various backgrounds and exchange learning and life experiences. I think that the Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program is a rare chance to participate in a series of exciting events that will broaden the participants’ professional and personal horizons. I do hope to become a part of this program and use all of the opportunities it generously offers.

What I Can Offer to the Program

Not only do I plan to learn new skills during the SUMP but I also feel I can contribute back to it positively as well. My academic, volunteer and professional experiences will be of great help during the project. I am willing to apply all the knowledge and skills I have to assist everyone and serve as a source of inspiration for others. I would like to elaborate on some of my achievements in order to make clear why I think that the program committee might find me one of the most suitable candidates.

The first thing I would like to elaborate on is my academic success. Ever since school, I have made it my goal to succeed and excel, and I have done everything possible not to betray this purpose. I have always worked hard and achieved the best results in my studies. In high school, I initiated opening a chess club, which led to a series of awards and nominations. One of the most memorable things was my nomination to attend the National Student Leadership Conference in 2015.

At college, I am very conscious of both my personal and professional development. These endeavors found their reflection in a series of coursework, each of which was given “A” grades. I wrote works on calculus (2015-2016), economics and government (2015-2016), and an introduction to gaming (2014). Also, I completed two credits for an art portfolio class (2014) and conducted an independent study (2015). All of these helped me to deepen my knowledge of a variety of subjects and made me understand the nature of different concepts. All these endeavors show that I am a persistent learner who is not afraid of taking initiative. I am always ready to learn and help others enrich their own knowledge base.

My other activities at college include participation in several programs in which I have been very successful. In 2016, I won the essay contest “Are We All Scientists Now?” in which freshmen students of Hofstra University participated. In the same year, I took part in a discovery leadership program where I developed my social awareness and community empowerment skills. In 2017, I worked in the volunteer pathology lab at Westchester Medical Center. This experience helped me to understand the peculiarities of my future profession better by arranging the possibility of my assimilation to actual hospital conditions. I was helping people in need, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to apply my skills to make the lives of people easier.

Apart from a rich volunteer experience, including leading the school and college chess team, working at camps and laboratories, and taking care of a peer who is seriously ill, I also enjoy participating in extracurricular activities. The most memorable of them was participating in a social advert, “Shabbat: Stop. Rest. Enjoy” which highlighted the value of spending time with one’s family (Available here: http://www.aish.com/sh/s/Shabbat-Stop-Rest-Enjoy.html).

My professional, academic, and volunteer experience demonstrates how dedicated I am to medicine and how determined I am to pursue a successful career in this field. I am not afraid of hard work, and I am always willing to face challenges, especially when I know that they will bring valuable experience. I want to serve as a good example for others, and I am always happy to learn something new. I believe that the combination of my qualities and goals makes me a perfect candidate for participation in the SUMP.

Volunteer Work I Have Done in My Community

I have always considered volunteer work as an indispensable part of any person’s life. Personally, I have frequently participated in volunteer activities because I believe that it is my duty to help those who have less knowledge or fewer possibilities to obtain access to better opportunities. The list of my volunteer activities is long, but I am never planning to stop. I sincerely believe that it is up to every person to make this world a better place.

Since high school, I have been particularly involved in the chess team, serving as Team Leader since 2009 (Instructor since 2012 and Captain since 2009). In this role, I have served as a mentor while teaching beginner and intermediate chess to students in grades K-8. For my hard work, I was nominated to attend the National Student Leadership Conference for Iona Preparatory School, and I have been a member of the United States Chess Federation since 2004.

My volunteer work also includes completing at least 65 hours of annual community service since my freshman year. Every summer, for several years now, I have been serving as a Volunteer Camp Counselor at Brother Edmund Rice Camp. Additionally, last summer, I was a Teacher Assistant for Dr. Lee Stemkoski at Adelphi University, the first time a high school student has been chosen for this role. During the last two summers, I earned seven college credits while teaching an Introduction to the Game course at Adelphi University. My interest in technology was reflected in another volunteer achievement. In 2014, I built a computer with database security at a law firm.

Since February 2015, I have been participating in the Youth Services Opportunity Project (YSOP) of New York. My duties there were cooking and delivering food to the homeless. I find this experience one of the most valuable of all since feeding someone who is suffering from hunger is one of the noblest things in life. During this experience, I learned how little is sometimes enough to make people extremely happy and grateful. In such a high-paced modern society today, we frequently forget to look around and see the people who really need our help and support. I made it one of my goals not to neglect a cry for help and always provide support to others when I can.

The thing I find the most rewarding in a moral sense is the one I started doing in 2014. Several years ago, I became a “Good Samaritan” for a disabled student, Russell Taormina, who was undergoing chemotherapy. The story is featured here: http://www.newrochelletalk.com/content/impressive-college-scholarship-figures-underscore-value-iona-prep-education. I provide this student with tutoring services and carry his books to all classes. However, Russell has given me much more. He has taught me patience and given me invaluable lessons of courage. Most of all, he has inspired me to pursue a career in medicine to be able to help more people like him and many others in need.

Speaking of one’s volunteer work is not an easy task because whatever is done out of goodwill should not be boasted about. However, it is necessary to talk about it to encourage others to join the efforts aimed at relieving someone’s pain or hunger. Volunteer work is something I sincerely enjoy doing, and I hope to inspire other participants of the SUMP to join some of the programs in which I participate, or be invited to new ones by other students.

Personal Statement

My interest in the field of medicine started several years ago, and it was greatly influenced by one of the aspects of my volunteer work. I became a “Good Samaritan” for a student from my community who suffered from a severe disease. Watching him struggle every day, seeing the tremendous efforts his doctors made to keep him alive and provide him with better healthcare opportunities, I realized that a profession related to medicine is the noblest and rewarding one. Another thing that played a crucial role in the choice of my future profession was my Italian background.

People often think that being of Italian descent means that I am good at cooking, eat a lot, and walk around saying, “I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse.” False stereotypes and references to The Godfather aside, being an Italian goes hand in hand with a rich tradition of religion and culture that spans centuries. From the rise of the Roman Empire to the creation of modern-day Italy, one cannot help but think of where we, as Italians, have come from, which paths our ancestors took for us to be here today, and what potential future is on the horizon for the next generations. It is this anticipation of what may come that has driven me to pursue a career in medicine. The first medical school in Europe, the School of Salerno, was located in Italy and it was an Italian doctor, Giovanni Battista Morgagni, who founded pathological anatomy. It is these little pieces of knowledge about the contributions of Italians to the field of medicine that truly fascinate me since they demonstrate just how much our culture has contributed to the foundation of the world of modern medicine.

While it is true that the latest developments in present-day medicine belong to large corporations and universities with corporate funding, the fact remains that much of what can be seen in modern hospitals may be attributed to Italian medical pioneers. Strangely enough, despite their considerable contributions to the sphere of medicine, it has taken quite some time for people of Italian descent to break into healthcare in the United States. It seems even more unfair when one comes to consider the fact that Italians have always been known as great inventors, thinkers, and practitioners. For instance, Salvino degli Armati (born in 1258) is widely considered to be the creator of eyeglasses, Alessandro Volta (born in 1745) created the first prototype of the electric batteries used in many devices today, and Giovanni Caselli (born in 1815) was one of the original inventors of the predecessor to fax machines that were so widely used prior to the popularization of the internet. These are only a few of the dozens of Italian inventors, philosophers, and artists who contributed immensely to shaping the world we know today.

Not only does my culture have a great impact on my personal development and worldview, but my family does as well. I was raised in an atmosphere of love, respect, sympathy, and deep faith. I believe that all of these factors, along with my magnificent family, predetermined my desire to study medicine. The medical profession is one of the most exhausting but, at the same time, most rewarding ones. At my current stage of life, I have come to realize that being Italian and Catholic is intertwined since I have faith that God will guide me to achieve my aspirations and become who and what I want to be. To emphasize my Italian roots and honor the dearest person in the world to me, I changed my last name to include my mother. She is the person I admire most of all, and I always take inspiration from her immense experience and wisdom.

Being a person from a different cultural background, I understand and respect other cultures and value their achievements. Since I hope to participate in a program held at the Hispanic Center of excellence, I want to pay due respect to the contributions made by Hispanic Americans to the field of medicine. As well as Italians, these people have made some incredible achievements, the products of which are used all over the world to improve people’s health. Miguel Angel Ondetti invented one of the most successful hypertension treatment methods: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Claudio Castillón Lévano is the creator of the Neonatal Artificial Bubble used to support newborns with health risks. Luis Miramontes came up with the idea of progestin norethindrone which is used in oral contraceptives. Jesus Maria Sanchez-Pérez, a neurosurgeon of Hispanic descent, invented Serial Roentgenography. Elena T. Medo invented a breast pump system using a wall vacuum source. These and many other contributions of the people of Hispanic descent to the development of medicine are truly fascinating and inspiring. It will be an honor for me to participate in a project created and founded on the basis of the Hispanic Center of Excellence.

During the mentorship practice, I expect to accomplish several personal and professional goals. First and foremost, I want to increase my knowledge of my future profession by being given a chance to observe a mentor closely and follow every step they make. I think the opportunity to gain this experience is the major reason why I am applying for the program. However, other opportunities are no less valuable. I would like to absorb as much useful information as I can. I want to communicate with highly-skilled professionals, as well as like-minded peers. I believe that there is something I can learn both from professors and other students. I think that the SUMP will give me a chance to enrich the knowledge I have gained so far and will help me to share something with the other participants. I think that participation in this program is an invaluable opportunity for anyone who is truly dedicated to medicine and wants to connect their current studies in this field with their future career.

On the way towards my dream profession, I have already reached a number of achievements. I am an active participant in various volunteer projects, especially at my local medical center. I have won several scholarly contests in high school and at university. I enjoy participating in extracurricular activities and acting as a teacher for younger students. Above all, I have deep faith in God, and I am sure that with His help and guidance, I will be able to fulfill my plans. Hard work and a strong belief in my family and culture help me remember who I am and what I want to become. I think that this dedication and determination will assist me in making my dreams come true and making this world a better place.

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