• Yesha Parekh
  • Class of: 2019

yeshaMajor: Cell Biology & Neuroscience        

Minor: Health & Society

 How did you decide on your major?

I decided to be a Cell Biology & Neuroscience major because I have always been interested in learning more about the brain and the neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. There is so much about the brain and these disorders that remains unknown. Through this major, I have been able to further my knowledge and passion for neuroscience.

What is it about your chosen field (and the department) that appeals to you?

Neuroscience has always been appealing to me because the brain is such an enigma. Even though we have a lot of information about the brain and how it operates, there is still so much that remains unknown. Having the opportunity to study in such a developing field is very exciting.

Do you have a favorite class/professor within your major?

My favorite class is Fundamentals of Neurobiology and my favorite professor is Dr. Hsu.

What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?

In January 2017, I participated in an Alternative Break service trip through Rutgers University which focused on HIV/AIDS. We spent one week at Project Lazarus in New Orleans, Louisiana, where we provided physical and emotional support to residents who are HIV positive and homeless. We visited a museum, played Bingo, explored New Orleans, as well as did yoga and meditation with them. Even though this was a service trip, I consider this to also be an academic experience because I was able to learn so much about HIV/AIDS and how it affects individuals and their families and societies through the personal experiences of the residents. It was very inspiring to hear some of the residents’ stories about their life and how they contracted HIV as well as the steps they are taking in order to reintegrate within the greater New Orleans community. Seeing the residents open up to us and talk about such personal issues meant so much to me because they believed that we are amongst the few people that care about them enough to listen to their life experience and spread their story to others to educate others about the effects of living with HIV/AIDS. This experience has taught me so much about how HIV/AIDS is still stigmatized in southern areas like New Orleans and the perpetual cycle of poverty, lack of education, addiction, and HIV/AIDS. In addition, this service trip has allowed me to put faces and names to such a devastating and disease and has empowered me with the spirit to continue serving individuals who suffer from HIV/AIDS.

What are your other Rutgers activities?

I am the Lead Mentor in Residence for the Honors College where I am responsible for developing and facilitating training and teambuilding activities for the Mentors in Residence, facilitating training and teambuilding sessions for the Mentors in Residence to receive progress updates and provide feedback about Mentor responsibilities, and provide academic success mentoring to the incoming first-year Honors College students.

I volunteer at St. Peter’s University Hospital in the Cardiac Patient Cares Unit where I provide comfort care services to patients by bringing food and water as well as interacting with patients. I also transport patient belongings and medical equipment.

In January 2017, I attended the Exploring HIV/AIDS Alternative Break where I provided physical and emotional support to residents of Project Lazarus in New Orleans, LA who suffer from HIV/AIDS. I was paired up with a resident for companionship activities like reading and writing tutoring, yoga, meditation, dog therapy, and craft night.

I also work as a research assistant for clinical cancer drug trials at Regional Cancer Care Associates, LLC. I am responsible for recording, inputting, and analyzing data and conducting study close-out interviews for clinical trials that have been terminated.

I am the Co-Founder of Knight’s Table, an Honors College initiative, where I help to organize discussions about controversial topics which allow students to become more educated about differing viewpoints surrounding controversial issues and discuss these topics in a civilized manner.

I am also an Honors College Student Ambassador where I help connect and share stories and experiences of an Honors College student with prospective students and their families through information sessions and tours.

What are your plans following graduation?

I have recently been accepted into the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Joint BA/MD Program and will be attending medical school in August 2018.

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