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Career Paths of Health, Aging & Society Alumni

Whether exploring the possibility of graduate studies and/or contemplating entering the workforce, our department recognizes the importance and value in students connecting with alumni.

Alumni with Undergraduate Degrees from Health, Aging & Society

Xochil ARGUETA-WARDEN '15

I graduated with a Combined Honours BA in Arts & Science and Health Studies. I am starting the two year accelerated program in Nursing at the University of Toronto in September 2015. My degree from the Department of Health, Aging & Society instilled in me a desire to work in the health care system in some capacity.

 

Kelly BASHAK '09

I graduated with a BA in Honours Health Studies in 2009. I currently work as an Occupational Therapist for LifeMark Health in Windsor, Ontario. At present, my caseload includes referrals through CCAC for home safety and functional rehabilitation following hospital discharge as well as Veteran's Affairs for equipment recommendations and cognitive behavioural therapy (in addition to assessment and treatment of adults following motor vehicle accidents and brain injuries). My long term goal is to focus my career towards Sexuality and Sexual health while maintaining a focus on older adults and individuals with disabilities.

I'm still very passionate about working with older adults and am very happy with the opportunity my gerontology degree afforded me (volunteering at a delirium prevention program for the field placement course, understanding how to conduct research following the 4th year thesis course etc.)

Contact Kelly

Gillian BEATON '12

I graduated with a BA in Health Studies and Psychology in 2012. After completing the Health Studies Degree in April 2012, I have gone on to further my studies in McMaster’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While completing the Nursing program, I have plans to work in the Health Care field applying the theoretical concepts learned in Health Studies and seeking more hands-on positions as my clinical skills develop. In the future, I plan to work as a Registered Nurse and eventually specialize in the area of quality improvement. I plan to work on projects that will ensure efficient, high quality standardized nursing care that satisfies the needs of all Canadians.

The degree I completed in Health Studies provided with an excellent foundation to enter the nursing program. The program thoroughly educated me in a number of health and aging topics and encouraged me to think about these topics critically. Especially in the latter two years of the program, professors fostered an environment that allowed students to independently begin identifying and exploring current topics related to health and aging. This skill is something I know I will be able to combine with my clinical knowledge to make me an excellent candidate to work in the field of hospital/nursing care quality improvement.

At the present moment, I have completed the first year of the Nursing program. Having the Health Studies degree allowed me to be exempt from a number of courses lessening the course load. Moreover, many concepts overlapped making the challenging curriculum much easier. When learning clinical skills and discussing clinical scenarios, I was able to provide peers with interesting information and alternative perspectives that all came from knowledge gained from the Health Studies program. The degree is proving itself to be a definite asset. As a full-time summer position and part-time in-term position I am working in the Emergency Mental Health Department as a Patient Support worker at the Guelph General Hospital. I work with patients who have mental health issues and ensure their safety and comfort in the hospital. Sensitivity and understanding towards this vulnerable population was also taught in the program.

Contact Gillian

Alice CAVANAGH '13

After graduating with a Combined Honours in Arts and Science and Health Studies, I spent several months in Geneva as an intern with the World Health Organization. Upon returning to Canada, I worked as a research assistant at the Neonatal Developmental Follow-Up Clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and at the Immunodeficiency Clinic at Toronto General Hospital. In and out of class at McMaster, women's reproductive and sexual health were of primary interest to me, and I've continued this work since, volunteering at Planned Parenthood Toronto and the U of T Sexual Education Centre. Reproductive justice, and the use of intersectional frameworks in healthcare contexts will continue to be a focal point as I return to McMaster to study Midwifery.

The courses I took as a student in the Department of Health, Aging and Society gave me the language I've used for the past six years to talk about how social inequities contribute to the disparities in health we see in local, national, and international contexts. Being a student in HAS gave me the chance to engage academically with issues I was passionate about, and that continue to propel me today to pursue a career in midwifery.

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Emily BURNHAM '09

I graduated with a BA in Gerontology in 2009. Upon completion of my degree at McMaster University, I entered the accelerated nursing program through the University of Toronto. I have been an RN since 2011, working in long-term care for the first two years in my career. This past September I shifted to the community where I work primarily with the clients who are dependent on tracheostomies and/or ventilators for effective airway management. The next chapter of my career will hopefully be to complete additional courses that will allow me a chance to work in an ER setting.

My passion is still gerontology and my intention is to eventually obtain a position that will allow me to combine this passion with my interest in nursing (such as a nursing manager or DOC position).

Contact Emily

Anna D'ANGELA '13

I graduated with a BA in Arts & Science and Health Studies (Honours) in 2013. This year (2013-2014), I am working with the McMaster Students Union as the Vice-President (Administration). Next year, I plan on applying the McMaster's MBA program.

My degree in HAS has inspired me to potentially explore getting an MBA in Health Services Management from Mac.

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Emily CICHONSKI '15

After finishing my degree in Health Studies and Gerontology, in September 2015 I will be starting my Masters degree in Health and Aging at McMaster. After I had the opportunity to complete an undergrad thesis as a requirement for my degree, I realized that I enjoyed conducting research and wanted to continue to conduct research in the future. Once I complete my Masters degree, I will hopefully go on to complete my PhD in Health and Aging, so I can continue to conduct research in the field.

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Peter DEMAIO '15

I completed the Honours BA in Health Studies and Gerontology. I will be attending McMaster University for a graduate MA degree in Health and Aging in the Fall (2015). I hope to continue my post-secondary education in the UK afterwards, either for an MSc or a PhD.

Academically, my degree has given me a strong understanding of theory related to health studies and gerontology while improving my written and oral communication skills. I have also had the opportunity to pursue research projects in various courses, including the 4th year health and aging thesis, that have improved my understanding of relevant methodologies.

Student networks within the program have allowed me to explore volunteer, networking, and academic opportunities (e.g., academic talks and conferences) to build my skill sets and experience.

All together, my degree and the related experiences and opportunities it has brought me has facilitated my pursuit of graduate studies. I was accepted into all of my preferred programs. Some of them, including MSc in Health Policy, Panning, and Financing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the MSc in Evidence-based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at Oxford University, are very competitive. This degree has greatly increased the options available to me now as a graduate student.

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Danielle FEARON '12

After completing my undergraduate at McMaster, I worked for a year with the Alzheimer Society (Peel region) completing assessments/documentation of clients, keeping contact with families of the clients as well as writing programs for people with different forms of dementia. During this time I began the process of completing my Case management certification with McMaster's CCE. I am now in the process of completing my Masters of Public Health through Waterloo

This degree gave me the foundation to understand my interests in health care and gerontology. I hope to get into policy work related to older adults.

Contact Danielle Fearon

Jennifer HADDY '06

I graduated with an Honours BA in Gerontology in 2006. Following graduation from McMaster, I went on to pursue a career in Nursing, graduating from the BScN program at the University of Toronto. I currently work in a Trauma & Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit as a bedside nurse. We regularly care for older people having had falls and sustained head injuries, as well as those with complex neurosurgical disease processes.

I strive to make an older person's hospital stay the best it can be. Falls prevention, timely communication at a level that will be easily understood, involving patients in decisions being made on their behalf whenever possible, and autonomy. I would eventually like to design and start up my own spinal chord rehabilitation facility. The course material that was taught in the course on long-term care homes, as well as the disability course, will come in to be very useful in project planning and design.

 

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Amanda HARRIS '12

I graduated with a BA in Honours Health Studies in 2012. I am currently employed with Brain Injury Services of Hamilton as a Rehabilitation Facilitator. I hope to achieve a career in policing and do not have any plans for any further education.

In terms of how my degree has contributed to my career plans, currently, my degree directly applies to my line of work. In the future, my degree will not directly apply to my work (police officer) but it will show employers that I am educated in the social sciences.

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Naomi HILL '06

Degree: BA Health Studies. I am currently a Dental Hygienist. I went on to a private school to obtain my diploma of Dental hygiene. I have been working full time for 2 years at a progressive and fast-paced dental office. Most people are unaware that dental hygiene, as a profession, requires more knowledge and skill than "just cleaning teeth". There are various paths to take with a dental hygiene background. While at school, there was a course called "Community" that I had pretty much taught. It was everything that the Health Studies program wanted to convey. In everyday practice I see a variety of patients that are affected by various social determinants of health. With each patient I have the knowledge to treatment plan accordingly. Although many people in my profession are able to do this, I feel that I have a more rounded education and able to give more advice and consultation to my patients. In my future, I would like to go on and take my Masters and become an educator in the dental hygiene profession.

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Jaclyn HORNBY '13

Degree: BA in Health, Aging & Society. I am currently working at a retirement home in the 24-hour assisted living. I am the Community Life Coordinator, which means I plan events and activities. I have worked on my continuing ed certification in Case Management at McMaster. I plan to continue my education and do my Masters in Health, Aging and Society or a related field.

I have learned so much from the program. Working in a long-term care facility in first year and a hospital setting in third year, I knew that Gerontology was the right program for me. The experience in these facilities with the geriatric community gave me the opportunity to find my direction in this field. I am now working with the elders of our community to plan events and activities for them. I am also learning about the Eden Alternative method and trying to promote client/residents centered care without the use of medication or the institutionalized system.

 

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Brittany HORODECKI '13

I graduated with a BA in Honours Health Studies in 2013. Following graduation I was hired at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton in the Women's Health Concerns Clinic as an Administrative and Research Assistant to the the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability, and Neurobiology (MAVAN) research team. I am responsible for updating and maintaining several study related databases, data entry, contacting study participants to schedule appointments, ordering health records, preparing study visit questionnaire packages, arranging and picking up study materials, and purchasing study supplies. Additionally, I assist the research staff with at home and clinic visits, by administration of questionnaires and other study related measures.

Working for the MAVAN team has allowed me to apply my theoretical knowledge from undergrad to better understand and observe the development of infant attention, cognition and emotion through social determinants of health - varying from biological to epigenetic factors. This longitudinal study has also presented me with the opportunity to work along side other professionals from different academic and work backgrounds. I believe this job will help me further build and develop my broader interests (health inequalities and determinants, disadvantaged populations, global health, counselling, families etc.) into a more focused knowledge that will have to the potential to impact on individuals or communities.

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Jocelyn HUNT '12

I graduated with a BA in Honours Gerontology & Health Studies. Recently, I have started a new position as a Knowledge Broker with the Alzheimer Knowledge Exchange (AKE) at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. 

In my new role, I support several Communities of Practices (CoP) and initiatives on various topics which include the Design and Dementia CoP; Behavioural Support Ontario Mobile Teams CoP; Behavioural Support Units CoP; as well as new initiatives on Pain and Dementia and Acute Care and Dementia.

As a Knowledge Broker, my role is to help facilitate knowledge exchange across the health care sector through two-way interaction as well as collaboration within and amongst groups of individuals with common interests or roles. Our focus is to surface and leverage existing knowledge in order to understand challenges and collaboresearch.

I feel with my new role, I am able to use the skills, knowledge and strengths from both my Gerontology as well as my Health Studies degree, with specific examples related to health policy, dementia, and research.

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Navneet JOHAL '04

I graduated with a BA in Gerontology and Health Studies in 2004. After completing my degree in Hamilton, I attended the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, graduating with a LLB in 2007. While completing my law degree I spent my summers working at Legal Aid Ontario's Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) - Canada's first and only legal clinic catering to the needs of seniors exclusively. After law school I completed my Articles at ACE. 

My undergraduate degree from McMaster University proved invaluable in my legal studies. I currently work as the Manager of a national pro bono organization located at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

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Kayla JOHNSTON '13

I graduated with a BA in Honours Gerontology in 2013. Next year I plan on attending Georgian College (Orillia campus) and getting a post graduate certificate in therapeutic recreation. This one year program allows me to spend a year attending school and then complete an internship during the summer. I hope to complete my internship in a hospital. Getting a job with that hospital (or another hospital) would be ideal.

The courses within the Department of Health, Aging and Society have helped shape my current and future plans. Taking a course which allowed me to do a placement for one semester. I was able to do a placement within therapeutic recreation and this helped me to see what I truly wanted to do with my degree.

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Rabia KHOKHAR '12

I graduated with a Combined Honours BA in Pyschology and Health Studies in 2012. I will be going into occupational therapy at McMaster this September (2012). From there, I plan on pursuing more graduate training after entering the work force.

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Jacqueline KUTT '12

I graduated with a BA in Honours Health Studies and Sociology in 2012. My immediate future involves more school. I am returning to McMaster University in the fall and entering into the Master's Sociology program. My long-term plans are centered on achieving a Doctorate of Philosophy, with the hopes of pursuing research and training.

My health studies courses have certainly expanded my worldview on a personal and academic level. Not only have I gained a deeper understanding over how closely our health is connected to our location in society, both biographically and geographically, I have been supplied with numerous reference points that highlight the significance of these relationships locally and globally, specifically in connection to our health and well-being. I feel well prepared to pursue any area of interest that pertains to health and/or healthcare related issues.

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Tamika LATIBEAUDIERE '05

After graduating from the Health Studies program in 2005, I went on to Ryerson University and completed a two year Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health and Safety. My interest in Public Health piqued after the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto. I completed a four month practicum with a health unit to satisfy requirements for Public Health Inspector designation in Canada (CPHI). Since 2007, I have worked with York Region Public Health as a CPHI in various areas including food safety inspection, rabies prevention, and health education initiatives. 

My training in Health Studies research provided the foundation to perform evidence-based research for a community-based food safety campaign. My plan is to continue to work in public health through policy development and continued education.

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Erinn MACAULAY '07

After graduating from McMaster with an honours degree in Health Studies, I obtained a post-graduate certificate in Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion from Centennial College in Toronto, Ontario. I have gone on to design, implement, and evaluate workplace health promotion solutions for organizations such as Sun Life Financial, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and my current employer, Novus Health. My current position includes responsibilities related to business development, client account management, as well as managing one of our product lines that I designed several years ago. Up until recently I was working out of Toronto, but have recently relocated to Los Angeles, California to develop our American book of business and product line.

My degree from HAS has been instrumental in allowing me to progress to where I am today. It gave me the theoretical and research background that I need to effectively design and critically evaluate health promotion solutions. My HAS degree also provided access to a variety of courses such as health law, health economics, and health policy which are rooted in practical business concepts and instrumental to functioning in a business environment.

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Elmer MASCARENHAS '08

Degree: Honours BA Health Studies. After graduating from the Health Studies program at McMaster, I went on to complete a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the University of Toronto's School of Public Policy and Governance. I am now working for an industry association as a Policy Analyst. I have also worked for the federal government - with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada - as well as the City of Toronto as a Toronto Urban Fellow, conducting research and policy analysis.

My education at McMaster - specifically at the Department of Health, Aging & Society - provided a great basis for me to pursue subsequent graduate education and was the primary building block of my career. I found the tight-knit community of the Department and McMaster as a university to be critical in terms of my personal and professional development. The staff within the Department were extremely helpful in providing career advice and guidance. Furthermore, I was fortunate to secure an internship with Health Canada as a Junior Research Officer during my undergraduate study at McMaster and this was an invaluable experience for me.

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Rania NASER '15

I graduated with an Honours BA in Gerontology & Health studies in 2015. I took a year off and worked as a recreation therapist at a long term care. I then applied to the accelerated nursing 2 year program ( Scholar Practitioner Program) at Nipissing that is located downtown Toronto. I absolutely love this program and would recommend it to anyone.

My degree really instilled in me the desire to work in the healthcare system. Earning a gerontology degree and getting experience in the health care field because of my degree really made me want to continue my studies and get more experience working with the health care system.

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Kristina POLDRE '12

I completed my Honours Health Studies degree with a minor in Sociology in 2012. I have since pursued a professional Master's degree in Health Informatics (MHI) at the University of Toronto's Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation (IHPME). Upon completing the intensive 16-month program in December 2013, I started my working career as a project analyst in the Informatics department (Project Management Office) at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

My Health Studies degree provided me with the necessary foundation and skills for my graduate studies in Health Informatics. In addition to being educated on a number and wide array of health and aging topics (public health, health policy, eHealth, etc.), I was encouraged to explore these topics through critical thinking. The program also helped me develop my leadership skills - I was an executive member of HASSA and McMaster's ambassador for the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare (CUCOH).

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Adnan QURESHI '05

Adnan has completed a combined degree in Health Studies and Gerontology. 

Perspective, insight, appreciation, and critical appraisal skills characterize what students should expect to gain from the Health Studies and Gerontology program. These programs examine multidisciplinary interpretation of health and societal dynamics of aging which challenge the way you think of these domains, rather than simply obtaining a collection of facts. Adnan has since completed a Masters degree in Health Research Methodology and a program in Health Services and Policy Research while at McMaster. He finished medical school and subsequently General Surgery residency training at the University of Toronto. He is currently pursuing fellowship in colorectal surgery and plans to provide care to patients with general surgery problems as well as complex colorectal malignancies and inflammatory bowel diseases.

The skills learned in the undergraduate program are invaluable to effectively communicate with many of the older population who access our health care system. The critical appraisals skills and appreciation for different practices are advantages for understanding patients' beliefs and providing optimal patient care.

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Daniel ROSENFIELD '11

After Arts & Science and Health Studies, I attended medical school at the University of Toronto. I am currently enrolled in a paediatric residency program at the University of Toronto & Hospital for Sick Children. I plan on pursuing subspecialty training in paediatric emergency medicine. My academic interests include public health and medical education. In medicine, I have used my training re: social determinants of health to inform my practice, as well as guide research and academic interests.

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Marsha SCHOFIELD '12

I graduated with a BA in Gerontology in 2012. I am currently working at Mississauga Central Comfort Keepers. We are home care providers that offer assistance to individuals of all ages who are recovering from injury or illness. Many of our clients are from the aging populations who require extra support with their ADL's and may still be living in their own private residences, retirement homes or LTC facilities. 

At present I am a Business Development Manager where I promote services, assess clients needs and recruit caregivers.  This degree has helped me to gain the current position that I am working in.

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Alison SCHURE '10

I graduated with an Honours BA in Health Studies in 2010 at McMaster and have recently completed my Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto: Dalla Lana School of Public Health. In September, I will be returning to McMaster to complete the accelerated BScN program! 

My degree in health studies has equipped me with a very diverse knowledge base regarding the social determinants of health and cultural approaches to health, in order to assist in my critical understanding of the multi-dimensional factors that affect health, illness, and the relevant healthcare systems. 

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Ana TALAG '10

After receiving my Honours BA in Health Studies and Gerontology at McMaster University, I went on to complete my Master's of Science in Occupational Therapy at University of Toronto. I am now working as a community occupational therapist (OT) in the Peel Community. Within my student placement as an OT, I traveled to Cameroon where I was able to work with an array of clients providing paediatric seating as well as teaching community rehabilitation techniques. I hope to complete a PhD that combines my passions in Gerontology, Health Policy and Occupational Therapy.

My degree from Health, Aging and Society (HAS) served as a critical stepping stone in my career as well as my life path. The perspective that HAS provided set me aside from other health care professionals as I was well aware of the health outcomes, gerontological frameworks and the overall health climate. From my placement at the Ontario Seniors' Secretariat (from Anju Joshi's class), I was able to network and diversify my portfolio as an OT. Having this undergraduate degree has remained an important tool in my career as the realm of health care is constantly changing. Having foundations that stemmed from Dr. Grignon's health expenditures class, to learning the evolution of gerontology from multiple perspectives, Health and Aging was able to solidify both best practice care and current issues that we face today. I am so proud to be a HAS graduate and I can attest that this Bachelor's has provided me a multitude of opportunities and widened my perspective as a person.

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Lina TIRILIS '09

I graduated with an Honours BA in Multimedia and Health Studies in 2009. I am back at school (this time at Mohawk College) pursuing a Graphic Design Diploma. While back at school, I am completing a co-op placement at iDeaWorks, an initiative at Mohawk College which is comprised of students, staff, and faculty who are assisting local start-up businesses with their technological projects. I get to work on the creative side of things in the Graphics Department.

In terms of how my degree has contributed to my career plans, many of the projects and events that occur at iDeaWorks are centered around Health and Technology. I was fortunate enough to participate in an event at Mohawk called AppsForHealth, which includes a Student Competition where various Health Organizations challenge students to create a mobile solution to their problem. I am looking to develop my Graphics skills and if my career lands me in a health-related field, I will be grateful.

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Laura (McCammon) TRIPP '07

I graduated with an Honours BA in Health Studies in 2007. After completing my undergraduate degree, I continued my studies at the University of Waterloo where I obtained a MSc in Health Studies and Gerontology. While completing my MSc I became interested in tobacco control research and worked in that field for the next 5 years in research positions at Cancer Care Ontario and the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. I have recently returned to McMaster where I am now working as a Research Coordinator at the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis.

My time at McMaster in the Department of Health, Aging and Society was incredibly influential. I appreciate the fact that we were a small program and as a result we were able to get to know each other and our professors. This created a very supportive learning environment. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree was also a strong positive. Learning from and with individuals from a number of departments and faculties allowed me the opportunity to learn how to think in different ways and how to work in interdisciplinary groups which has proven to be very valuable in my professional life. Before I started at McMaster I never planned to continue on to graduate school or to persue a career in research. The coursework, especially the opportunity to complete a 4th research project, solidified my love of research and gave me the confidence to follow the path to graduate school. Working with a community organization to complete my research project highlighted the importance of ensuring research is relevant to practice, and this has remained a priority for me.

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Martin M. TSHIBWABWA '10

I am a graduate of McMaster University with a BA in Health Studies. After completing my degree I have continued to be an occasional volunteer at The St. Elizabeth Village Retirement Home while preparing my applications for medical school. I plan to attend Trinity University to continue my studies in medicine.

I believe my background in Health Studies has provided me with the foundation for my future by offering me a diverse image of health and illness. I encourage all applicants who wish to continue in a health related field to take the Health Studies program - Welcome Aboard! Live by the motto: "Action is Eloquence" - William Shakespeare

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