Personal Statement

    I was extremely excited that I would finally be able to drive without any parental supervision as I counted down the days until my sixteenth birthday.  Sadly, my mother too was also beginning a new stage in her life, as she was tragically diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.  My mother’s cancer drove me into adulthood sooner than expected. The medical care of people, in all of its magnificence and with all of its problems, became the cornerstone of my adult life.

   Every morning before school, I sat with my mother anxiously waiting for her physician. Our experiences with him were sad. Her oncologist would spend little time discussing my mother’s questions while spending a good amount of time explaining the diagnosis and conversing with his medical students. She was rarely approached as a person, but rather as another “interesting” medical case. This lit a fire under me, and I knew that patients deserved a more caring physician than this. I knew that my mother deserved kinder care. I knew the doctor needed to be objective but clearly he needed to be more compassionate at the same time.

    Sadly, but as predicted, my mother’s biopsy was positive. My parents had immigrated to the United States and then unfortunately divorced when I was nine years old. With their divorce and with the cancer I was culturally obligated to help with her finances so that my mother and I would have a place to live. I applied for an entry-level position at a local grocery store. This forced me to put my studies on the back burner during my mother’s recovery.  When I had any free time at all, I spent it researching medical terms and procedures while regularly meeting with my mother’s physician to discuss her condition and to help her understand the intricacies of her diagnosis and her treatment options.

     During her remission, I began to put my life back together again. I pooled all the information gathered during the year and started looking for the best place to begin my education. What an adventure! My high school physiology teacher recommended me for a volunteer opportunity; this opportunity kindled both my interest in working with people and giving back to my community. I started to volunteer at the Glendale Community Free Health Clinic, helping to provide basic medical and psychological care to those who could not afford health insurance. I obtained patient histories, gathered vitals, and reported lab results. I would then provide this information to the clinic attending and visit patients in the exam room alongside the physician. These experiences were my first steps en route toward the healthcare profession.

     When I was 20 a physician examining my father diagnosed a medical condition.  Lacking health insurance, he remained untreated until I advised him to visit the free health clinic where I volunteered. The physicians devoted the time and effort necessary to explain the severity of his illness and to present us with treatment options. But most importantly, they gave us the much needed hope to endure the challenges we would encounter. After witnessing the compassion, care, and attention to my father, I understood full well the social and emotional aspects of medicine, the humanistic side.

     My path towards medicine was starting to slowly crystallize. The time spent with each parent, and each patient, allowed me to grow as a person, to remain resilient, and aspire for a better life ahead. Where my mother’s cancer treatment kept me empathetic towards healthcare, my time at the free clinic coupled with my experiences dealing with my father’s schizophrenia ignited my interest in the sciences, and subsequently, in medicine.

     My experiences and struggles have allowed me to witness both the successes of modern medicine and its shortcomings. Medicine is a multifaceted profession that relies not only on science, but also aspects that remain uniquely human: empathy and compassion. The best physicians not only treat the illness itself, but also the person. I stand confident that medical school is undoubtedly the next step towards fulfilling both my personal aspirations and in realizing my full potential as a lifelong student.

Experiences- 600 characters max

  1. Physics Tutor- Employment

I tutored physics to socioeconomically challenged high school students. I related to the struggles that these students experienced and yet it gave me the opportunity to implement teaching and learning tactics that enabled my students to be successful while at the same time helping me grow as a teacher. Tutoring diverse students from different socioeconomic background forced me to adapt to students’ individual needs, cater to learning disabilities such as ADHD, and develop improved communication skills to better express abstract concepts.

  • Armenian Student Association (ASA)- Extracurricular

Caring, empathy and the desire to help others is part of my personal identity. I seek opportunities to step up to the plate and engage in community outreach and philanthropic endeavors whenever possible. When the Armenian Student Association voted me as their community outreach chairperson, I organized fundraising events to support the growing Children of Armenia Fund. Our combined efforts yielded 5000 dollars towards our cause. My position of leadership allowed for a highly rewarding experience encouraging our members to be charitable within our ethnic community.

  • CVS/Sav-on Pharmacy- employment

I needed to help my mother financially at an early age; therefore I secured employment as a pharmacy clerk. I leveraged this opportunity to educate myself in the processes patients experienced when filling their physician’s prescriptions. My responsibilities included transcribing prescriptions, stocking medications and addressing insurance difficulties. In addition, I helped patients fill out pertinent paperwork and answered questions about billing. Here, I became familiar with various medications and their mechanisms of action.

  • Church- Volunteer

At St. Leon’s Cathedral Youth Organization, counselors, like myself, were committed to promoting mental and emotional wellness within the community. I met with teens regularly, either in individual or group settings, to discuss their life choices and goals, offer guidance and establish a support system they could consistently rely upon. Our youth members came from different socioeconomic backgrounds and often had dysfunctional family lives at home. We sought to provide a safe, unstigmatized outlet where members could freely talk about sensitive subjects like interpersonal relationship issues.

  • Shadowing- Kamajian

I shadowed Steven Kamajian, D.O. in his office in Montrose. I had learned how to take a proper history and take vital signs as a volunteer at the Glendale Community Free Clinic, so I took those skills with me to his office. I did the intake evaluations of his patients and the screening physical examinations. I presented the cases to him; we reviewed the differential diagnosis and the treatment plan options. I had the opportunity to watch him perform both a medical history and physical examinations, which included Osteopathic structural examinations and also osteopathic manipulative medicine.

  • Shadowing- Ghazarian

I met Dr. Ghazarian when I began volunteering at the Glendale Community Free clinic, where he is the medical director. I shadowed Arbi Ghazarian, M.D. in his private office in Glendale. I learned of the crucial dichotomy that exists for patients; difference in health between those individuals who have easy access to health care versus those who do not. Interacting with different patients, in different settings, I increased my exposure within the medical field. In addition I expanded my understanding of the physician-patient relationship.

  • Clinic-

GCFHC is a non-profit clinic that provides basic medical care to the homeless and to those who cannot afford health insurance. My role here consisted of: obtaining vital signs, reporting lab results and performing EKGs. Ultimately, the clinic allowed me to immerse myself in an active medical community that catered to the needs of the underprivileged. Moreover, it enabled me to visualize firsthand how dynamic the field of medicine is. It is constantly evolving to fit the needs of all patients and GCFHC demonstrated how to approach each patient with empathy, dignity and compassion.

  • IHSS- employment

        Work- In home supportive services provider

I have been an “In-Home Services Provider” for my father who is medically disabled. As his son and caregiver my primary responsibility is to provide loving and competent care so that he can remain at home with dignity and comfort.

10. Research

I assisted in classifying and studying the differences between types of Louisiana crawfish based on variations of the COX 1 gene. Following the extraction of mitochondrial DNA, I used PCR and gel electrophoresis in order to obtain and isolate the gene of interest. This research project is still ongoing.

  1. Work- Albertsons

When I was 16 years old my first job was at Albertsons. I was responsible for cleaning bathroom, sweeping floors, pushing grocery carts, bagging groceries, stocking shelves and ensuring customer satisfaction with each of my customer encounters. I observed much in this work; dealing with the public requires diplomatic skills, it requires listening skills and it requires a friendly smile and empathy.

  1. Work- Parexel

Parexel is a consulting firm that conducts clinical trials on behalf of pharmaceutical companies that wish to expedite the drug approval process. Currently in the Glendale office, Parexel is conducting phase one trials on various medications aimed to treat mental illnesses. My responsibilities include; screening possible participants based on their intake evaluations and physical examinations, obtaining vital signs, performing EKGs, and ensuring the proper process of laboratory samples obtained from patients.

  1. Extracurricular- Automotive

Motoring journalist J. Clarkson, “You’re a car, but most of all, what you’ve become is a friend.” Like many mechanical achievements, a beautiful automobile incites an unfathomable response. The smell of petrol combustion, the sound of a roaring engine, and most importantly the feeling obtained of integration as you are driving. It is the sensory experience I fully indulge in. Enjoying a car’s mechanical capabilities and where that intersects its personality. It gives me a pure connection to an experience that really speaks to me; it twists and turns as my teammate and that is why I love cars.

My love for cars and maintaining them began before I knew the difference between a lug wrench and an Allen key. A beautiful automobile incites an unfathomable response, but to ensure its longevity I had to learn how to maintain the vehicle properly. With a limited budget, very little automotive experience, and with the help of repair manuals, I learned how to perform: engine rebuilding and servicing, repairing the transmission and drivetrain components, and other mechanical maintenances. My hands covered in grease gives me a pure connection to an experience I fully indulge in.

  1. Work- Home Health

I have worked for Gracious Home Health as an Executive Assistant and Staff Coordinator in addition to their Director of Data Analytics. My responsibility has included a focus on improving the clinical experience of the patients, improving clinical outcomes, and analyses of our corporate data. I have had to coordinate nursing care in addition to pharmacy services, physical therapy and occupation therapy.  We have targeted lowering the rate of hospital readmission, decreasing fall rates, eliminate recurrent infections and decrease the use of all unnecessary medications.

  1. Work- Hospice

As a Case Manager my administrative duties revolved around data analytics and translation of that information into practical clinical improvement. We have a clear focus on the ethical issues of end of life care: both palliative and the care of the actively dying patient. I was responsible for the challenge of meeting the needs of dying residents. This includes: advanced care planning, giving patients and their family members autonomy for stopping medical care, the communication with cultural and ethnically diverse communities, and improving the quality of the patients end of life experiences. 

  1. Cooking/Gastronomy- Hobby

George Gordon Byron wrote, “happiness was born a twin, to have joy one must share it.” Since my childhood, my family and my friends and I have shared our life around a common table. Food has been our common language and the key to opening a conversation. I love this! I am by no means a Michelin stared chef, but I am a great cook that makes an amazing roast of rib eye with a cream of garlic sauce. In my experience, what I prepare for others and myself is truly self-expression. It is as close as I get to artistic creation, but more importantly it is how I share my edible creations.

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