2021 STUDENT TESTIMONIALS

We interviewed NPHC 2021 participants about their experience with our conference. Here is what they told us:

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Thank you for sharing your NPHC story!

Juliana Vollmer - University of Pennsylvania Student


  • What is your name, what school do you go, what grade are you in?

My name is Juliana Vollmer, I go to the University of Pennsylvania, and I am a rising sophomore.

  • Why did you choose to attend NPHC 2021?

I chose to attend because I’ve never really gone to a pre-health event. I’ve gone to future medical leaders and scientists events but never something that’s specifically for students interested in just the pre-health field. And this year it just seemed really really accessible because it was virtual, and I found out about it and was like it’s free, it’s virtual, why would I not go? I decided to come because it looked like it was going to give me a lot of information about pre-health and maybe potentially connect me to a bunch of other pre-health students. I noticed that a lot of the staff members are from my university (the University of Pennsylvania) so I was like ‘oh wow.’

  • What were some questions that you had before attending NPHC that were answered or addressed during the event?

I’ve become interested in psychiatry, so I really liked that event that was on psychiatry as a career. Just about the day to day of medicine. I want a family once I am older and more into medicine, so I really liked the event that was focusing on healthcare as a career and just a lot of the logistics of being in medicine. It’s such a long process to get into medicine. I just wanted to double check and hear from some people that are in medicine to make sure that I want to be in medicine.

  • Are there any specific topics or advice from guest speakers that impacted you throughout the school year while continuing your pre-health journey (extracurriculars, application processes, motivational talks?

I liked some of the advice about extracurriculars. Both just following what you’re passionate about but if there are just random opportunities where you’re like ‘hey let’s see what happens here’ and then you get into it and it becomes your career, I feel like that came up quite a bit. So yeah, I liked to hear about that. Also, I really liked the MCAT session. I already started thinking about studying for that. Definitely will be implementing some of those very specific ideas as I move forward.

  • What was your favorite part of NPHC 2021?

I think, honestly, it was the opening and closing, or those transition periods when we got to hear from the NPHC staff members. I think it was day 3 when one of the speakers was a bit late and we ended up just playing a game. I really enjoyed that. It was a way to actually really participate beyond just the chat function--it was a bit more.

  • Do you have any suggestions for types of events or changes that would improve NPHC?

I definitely did like how there were the breaks, like the lunch breaks and the tabling sessions. I think maybe adding one or two more of those small breaks during the event would be nice. Each day, could do another lunch break or a free time break, or even just a little game break, where you can still keep everyone engaged but let them just have a little bit of fun and not have to really think seriously about everything.

I was going to go to the mental wellness session about stress management and stuff, but I sadly wasn’t able to make it so I don’t know if any of this came up during that. But just teaching some different techniques--like maybe a little five minute guided meditation or something like that or journaling. Just teaching students these skills that they can carry on after the conference even if they end up deciding that healthcare isn’t for them. Just like these general wellness practices.

  • What are some resources that you would like for NPHC to provide throughout the year that you would find beneficial?

I definitely think that the blog is a good idea. And I think on the survey I also saw something about mentorships, and I feel like that would be really cool. Even if it’s just between the NPHC staff members and students or professionals and students. Just more networking pretty much--being able to connect to more people.

  • Would you recommend other students to attend NPHC?

Definitely. I’m definitely going to tell everyone that I know that’s pre-med or otherwise or dental that if they’re even remotely interested, I’m going to tell them about it.

This interview was carried out by Kathryn Moon on 8/11/2021

Leslie Bucio - Johns Hopkins Student

  • What is your name, what school do you go, what grade are you in?

My name is Leslie Bucio, I'm going to be an incoming freshman at Johns Hopkins in the fall. Oh and I also plan on studying neuroscience, I don't know if I have to say that now.

  • Why did you choose to attend NPHC 2021?

It was actually something last moment but it interested me so much. It was part of this Jump program at my school and they like sent an email out recommending the conference, and I was like ‘I really think that this would be a good opportunity to be able to actually interact with not only students and stuff but also like actual professionals and different healthcare fields and just sort of also get started thinking about what I want like what path I want to go down because there were so many sessions and so much information, so I think that was the main like reasons why I decided to join conference.

  • What were some questions that you had before attending NPHC that were answered or addressed during the event?

Yeah I think mainly as an incoming freshman obviously and pre-med track, you know, you have a lot of questions about the application process and all of that, so that was like really helpful. The conference is really helpful in answering those questions but also answering things such as how you know, like, for example, different diversity in the fields and stuff and how to improve that like going into those environments where you're just you can actually interact and like be part of, you know, this system and change the way that things are sort of structured now for the better, obviously.

  • Are there any specific topics or advice from guest speakers that impacted you throughout the school year while continuing your pre-health journey (extracurriculars, application processes, motivational talks?

Yeah there was a lot, actually. I went to the all three days and, like, I felt like every speaker just had something, you know that you can utilize in the future. But I would say, I think like in the first day Dr. Shavonia Wynn I think in her Exploring Competitive Specialities as Underrepresented Students. I really liked how she started off with like you don't need to wake up one day and know what you want to be. Like you have sort of time and with that time you can use that time to explore different paths and not be afraid to go into small specialties where like there's not a lot of people, like not being afraid to be part of that small group. I feel like that's really important because when you enter [the healthcare field] you sort of want to feel supported or have a big support system, but also that part of like exploration and finding yourself, I feel like that really, you know, is going to stick with me, you know not being afraid to try new things and going out of my way to ask people, professors, students about different topics that I normally wouldn't ask, so I really liked that in the first day.

  • What was your favorite part of NPHC 2021?

My favorite part was just being able to sort of feel like part of a greater whole like you feel part of something greater than oneself right. Because it's like it's a big, even though it's small like it's a small, you know it's not that all the doctors and medical professionals and just health care providers in the world, but like you're able to, you know that Q and A session feature like you're able to actually talk to them sort of and ask them about their journeys, their success stories, their triumphs, and all of that and it's very encouraging to me, and I think that was my favorite thing. Just like being able to, you know, even if we're not seeing each other, like in person just being able to feel that sort of connection and feel a part of the community.

  • Do you have any suggestions for types of events or changes that would improve NPHC?

hmm I really liked it um, but I think a suggestion I would say, was maybe would be maybe more breaks in between because it can be like a little bit tiring to have so many ways sessions in one go, especially in like in a virtual setting where you're like in front of the computer for like the whole day. I think that would be like the main thing, but it's not that big of an issue also. For sessions, I would say I don't know because I really liked the way that it was organized like the first day kind of like introductions stuff and sort of different fields and race stuff. And then the second day was more of like, you know, applications and then the third day was sort of like the first day--I liked that structure, so I don't know I liked it so far.

  • What are some resources that you would like for NPHC to provide throughout the year that you would find beneficial?

I really like that mentorship thing, maybe like newsletters about certain topics and specialties. Yeah and then having small sessions where you're able to like, if you're interested in something, be able to ask people who know a little bit more about that topic, I think that would be good.

  • Would you recommend other students to attend NPHC?

Definitely! I think it's a great way to just learn about life skills, not just pre-health and pre-med stuff, but also advice that you can utilize in literally any field. I think that you don't necessarily have to be interested [in healthcare], but you can still take so much valuable information from the sessions.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

I just like that this NPHC conference is focused on the topic of unity, like unity in healthcare and uniting people from so many parts of the world to learn about their particular interests or interest in health care. I find that like very very good because sometimes you sort of feel like ,not alone because it's a big community, like a lot of pre-med pre-health, but you sort of sometimes need, you know, that sort of redirection and advice that just keeps you going and, you know, in the back of your mind, you know that what your choice you're making or whatever choices you make will contribute to your overall goal that you want.

This interview was carried out by Kathryn Moon on 8/11/2021

Zazai Owens - Wayne State University Graduate and Certified Teacher

  • What is your name, what school do you go, what grade are you in?

Okay, my name is Zazai Owens, I graduated from Wayne State University undergrad and grad school with the College of Education so I’m a certified teacher. I’ve been teaching for 19 years and I also work at a hospital, Ascension Health here in Michigan for 26 years. Currently I'm taking courses, or I just finished, at a community college called Washtenaw Community College. I just finished Physics 2 and I am pre-med, and I'm applying to medical school this cycle.

  • Why did you choose to attend NPHC 2021?

I attended any and every pre-med conference that I can. I’m not sure how I got in contact with you guys because, again, it may be from one of the pre-med student organizations or just from other ones I attended. And then I saw the link in my email and I was super excited, I was like ‘oh yeah of course i'm going to join this.’ That's how I found out about it was through I think either another organization and then I get other conference offers to attend.

  • What were some questions that you had before attending NPHC that were answered or addressed during the event? & Are there any specific topics or advice from guest speakers that impacted you throughout the school year while continuing your pre-health journey (extracurriculars, application processes, motivational talks?

Again, because I go to so many, it's like information and I don't want to sound like I know, but it kind of I guess it supports what what I've already learned from other conferences, but i'll get to one that stood out, I think there was one question that was emailed to me. I don't I don't know if you want me to talk about that one right now, but I can. There was one [session] that stood out. I think it was on the last day but it wasn't the very last conference, it was probably in the early afternoon. It was this African American. I think she had her doctorate. She also worked for a pharmaceutical company, but she was talking about how racism is inherent in the healthcare system. She kind of talked about the history of slavery, went into why African Americans don't trust the healthcare system because of the Tuskegee Experiment and just what's been going on with Covid. She just had a lot of historical references, the PowerPoint was excellent, and I just thought that was a really poignant presentation. There were a lot of other great ones, but that one just kind of stood out to me.

  • What was your favorite part of NPHC 2021?

Oh, you know I'm going to say this, and this is gonna sound kind of weird because I’m a teacher and because of Covid, we've had to sit in front of a computer for over a year, just me taking classes and me teaching online. I love how you guys spaced out breaks. Because I had finished a fellowship, a leadership fellowship with Georgetown, and when we first started, no one talked about breaks. We were there for like three hours, had to go to the bathroom, I was out of town and a grocery store was closing, and it's like simple things like that. Spacing out breaks--even if it was like 5 or 10 minutes, there were frequent breaks, and I really appreciated that. I think that was like, for some reason, that was like one of the greatest things you guys did versus any other conference. It sounds trivial, but it makes a difference.

  • Do you have any suggestions for types of events or changes that would improve NPHC?

Okay, I think you guys did a phenomenal job, and for this to be a conference, from what I read, created by students that were the co-founders, I'm like ‘they came up with this? This was huge!’ So I was really impressed by that, but I would say advertise with all the different pre-med organizations like SNMA, SACNAS, and there's a whole bunch of other ones, because that's another way I find out about like the Georgetown fellowship I got was through SNMA. You guys might have done it--that may be how I found out about you, I'm not sure, but if you haven’t, make sure you do that. Advertise online at the different of medical schools, because it's a great conference. You guys did a great job.

  • What are some resources that you would like for NPHC to provide throughout the year that you would find beneficial?

Anything with MCAT prep, application prep--that's the gift that keeps giving forever. Ways that people can shadow if they can't do it in-person like virtual shadowing, just stuff that's going to help you get into medical school.

**When I had finished recording, Zazai added that a mentorship program would be helpful, as well as ensuring that we stay in contact with participants so they can come back and contribute in the future to give back to NPHC.

  • Would you recommend other students to attend NPHC?

Of course! Absolutely!

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

No, I just want to attend next year.

This interview was carried out by Kathryn Moon on 8/13/2021

Minh Pham - UCLA Graduate

  • What is your name, what school do you go, what grade are you in?

Yes, my name is Minh Pham, I went to UCLA, and I'm currently a post-bac student.

  • Why did you choose to attend NPHC 2021?

So initially I chose to attend the NPHC back in 2019 when my mentor from another organization mentioned about this, and I initially I don't have any guidance on how to start my application for medical school, so when I attended back in 2019 I found it very helpful because they have a lot of guest speakers, they talked about the journey to health care professionals, along with the panel about the personal statement and resume. I found that after that event it's very convenient, you just register online, you’re like one minute away from your computer, and you have access to all of these resources. So after that conference I felt so confident and I wanted to build something to give back so I decided to attend it again in 2021 this year. And I found it to be truly beneficial and I had some amazing experiences, with the workshops, especially with the case study with the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

  • What were some questions that you had before attending NPHC that were answered or addressed during the event?

Yeah so some of the questions before the event that I came up with were ‘how do I have a more authentic personal statement when I apply for medical school?’ The second question is ‘what is life like as a first year medical student and also how do you balance your life and your medical study?’ Especially with the workshop when I study about mindfulness practice with Dr. Arczynski.

  • Are there any specific topics or advice from guest speakers that impacted you throughout the school year while continuing your pre-health journey (extracurriculars, application processes, motivational talks?

Absolutely. There are three guest speakers that I want to speak about. The first one is the dermatology workshop with Dr. Collins. I think she gave really good insight and advice and also very dualistic advice, so I think that most of it is the balance--you have to work hard, you have to be very patient to become a medical doctor and it may not be the path for everyone, so you have to really dig into that, into the career that you want to do. And besides that, I'm a strong advocate for health equity. I think the workshop about racism in health care and health equity, along with channeling passion and health advocacy helped me a lot. How using social media in order to channel those positive, you know, in healthcare and then how we can amplify our voice in healthcare in the public government system to fight for health equity for our underserved communities.

  • What was your favorite part of NPHC 2021?

The favorite part is everyone is very collaborative on the word inquiry, and I feel that the guest speaker is really connected to our audience. It was very collaborative, especially with Alexia, Alejandra, all of the team, you as well, Kathryn. Thank you for putting on an amazing conference, honestly. It’s the virtual--I don't know how you plan that, how everything was so organized.

  • Do you have any suggestions for types of events or changes that would improve NPHC?

No, I think, everything is perfect. So keep up the good work and, hopefully, we have more attendees. I will spread the word to my friends in California and everyone else will hopefully give more attention to you.

  • What are some resources that you would like for NPHC to provide throughout the year that you would find beneficial?

Yeah so I'm thinking about the workshop. I'm also thinking about the application, maybe we can have more of the series, or an MCAT academy where you’re teaching students about different topics about the MCAT and how to prep. For the MCAT, I know it’s very important today. People don't have a lot of money to [take] the course, so I think if we can provide resources to the students, that would be very beneficial.


  • Would you recommend other students to attend NPHC?

Yes! Absolutely, 100%


This interview was carried out by Kathryn Moon on 8/16/2021