Ways to Expose Your Kids to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M)

In light of the recent news, I would like to “Pay it Forward” by sharing some key information. My mother did a great job of keeping my sisters and I exposed to health sciences throughout middle and high school. From there I managed to discover college summer programs on my own. Please review the list of programs that may help your child stay focused and interested in STEM/health science fields. Currently, there is a high demand for minority females to enter these fields. I am from North Carolina so a few programs are only for NC residents.

  1. Area Health Education Center (AHEC)- Various programs for middle and high school students. Events are held on weekends throughout the school year and summer programs include stipends upon completion.
  2. Imhotep Academy- A year round enrichment program for under-served middle school students.
  3. North Carolina Health Careers Access Program (NC HCAP)- Various enrichment programs offered to pre-college students on weekends and in the summer.
  4. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)- This is predominately for undergraduates of 4 year institutions or post-baccalaureate students.
  5. Focus on Your Future- A one week experience at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago designed for underrepresented minorities in college.
  6. Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers (I-DOC)- A three day experience at the Ohio State University College of Optometry designed to increase minority presence in Optometry school.
  7. Medical Education Development (MED) program- A summer opportunity for disadvantaged students who have completed a certain amount of college science coursework.
  8. National Science Foundation Special Programs for Graduate Students- If you are seeking funding for your research initiative.

If you know of any other program that could benefit students then please share in the comments.


As I sit here contemplating ways to get out of these two exams I have tomorrow, I can’t help but to feel a little pissed off. Many people do not fully understand the whole concept of being a pre-health professional student. There are so many flippin hoops to jump through it just makes you sick! I know I will be a doctor one day but how much longer? I can’t see myself doing anything else. Not that I won’t be good at another career but I simply won’t be satisfied knowing that I am wasting my potential. Having to work at least 35 hours/week, volunteer, and attend advance classes part-time is starting to take a toll on me. My colleagues share my sentiments of general irritation with the whole process. I have given a great part of the last 4 years towards my dream and I want it to pay off. I miss having a social life and this has been a very lonely process.

On the other hand, there are moments where I understand I’m exactly where I need to be. I was teaching a patient how to remove and insert hard contact lenses last week. She became very frustrated with the process and started to cry. Although, I had a study group session planned within the next 20 minutes, I decide to be there for her. I took her aside into a private room and just held her while she cried. Afterwards, we got back to the process and she was able to get the hang of it right away. And it’s moments like those that I realize I will be a phenomenal doctor.

Okay my rant is over for now. Back to the chamber of insomnia.

Seattle Visit: Part Two- Roadtrip to Oregon (05/03/2016)

It’s 5:00 AM (PT) and I know I should already be on the road to Oregon. My Uncle Jaybird mentioned that traffic often turns “black” near the major cites due to a temporary highway closing. I roll over and rest for another 45 minutes then I rush to get ready. Although, I am excited about my one-on-one visit with the college, I feel slightly anxious. This morning I also briefly got to meet my youngest first cousins before heading out on the road. [They play a larger role in the latter parts of my visit.] The drive down towards Oregon was not long to me since I road trip often. I have no problem enjoying my own company and jamming out to my favorite sounds. Here are some photos and videos of the experience:

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The top four fast food chains here seem to be Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway, and most importantly Starbucks. I have numerous photos from this trip that I decided not to double post photos. To view the photos you didn’t see click here to go to my instagram page.  [Time skip four hours later…] I am currently at in Forest Grove, Oregon at Pacific University’s College of Optometry.  I’ll have to switch to the past tense now to better describe the experience. I saw a future for myself there. My tour guide, Diana Yin, was a second year optometry student who was so informative. She was originally from Chicago but enjoyed being in the relatively rural environment. It seemed as if that place was a reflection of my inner-self. A community that supports itself and others. Seriously, read the history of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. This is what I am all about.  After my tour with Diana, I drove over to the admissions office in Hillsboro and met with Andrea. Andrea was one of the admissions counselors who made an extra effort to accommodate my visit. I am very thankful for her. There is no way I would have had so much insight about Pacific University without visiting. I’m so glad I went!

My overall thoughts about the college of optometry here are positive. It offers the educational programs to address developmental disabilities which is important for me because my research is focused in that area. It has a strong community wellness focus that will allow me to thrive because i love people. It’s in a peaceful and beautiful environment. This factor holds a lot of weight due to my love of nature (just not butterflies).

***Disclaimer*** My photo editing stinks because I don’t have the time. Next up, Part Three- Views from the 206!