ILS has provided me with all the opportunities to connect with people with similar interests as me. Coming in as a first-year student, I found a community in the La Plata 8th floor lounge where we did homework together, ate meals together, marathoned Dr. Who and Sherlock together, and sang Disney karaoke together. We were the science nerds who unapologetically filled the front row of every biology and chemistry class and flocked to all of our clubs and activities together.
Above all, ILS provided the support, mentorship, and friendship that I sought to explore my interests and passions in college. We spent countless hours in the lounge studying for HLSC207, the first Biology course in the ILS course sequence. In the process, we learned to build off of each other's strengths and weaknesses, helping one another to understand confusing concepts and bouncing ideas off of each other as we concept-mapped the entirety of Organismal Biology and Genetics. My peer mentor, Rebecca Xi, pulled me into the American Medical Student Association, of which I am currently Co-President. With her mentorship and support, I found this organization that has sparked my passion for health advocacy, social justice, and community service.
My various other activities -- including volunteering with Tzu Chi (a humanitarian aid organization); participating in ILS's Terps Helping Turtles Alternative Breaks experience; helping underserved patients in Health Leads; and working as a teaching assistant to guide my "freshies" through their ILS Biology courses -- all stemmed from my network of close friends and colleagues within ILS. I am grateful and honored to be a part of such a warm and loving community that embraces collaborative learning, problem-solving, and a commitment to service and civic engagement.