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Summer research experience reinforces decision for medical career

A senior from Queens, Saintedym Wills chose Binghamton because of its academic reputation and affordability. Wills considered majoring in music until science classes made her realize that medicine was the right track. The biochemistry major’s decision is paying off: She spent the summer of 2007 working in Jamaica Hospital in Queens and took part in a Research Experience for Undergraduates project the following summer at Carnegie-Mellon.

“That (REU) experience really enhanced my critical-thinking skills,” she says. “I loved it so much - just being in a different city and learning about Pittsburgh’s culture.”

Outside of class, Wills serves as the controller for Escape, the student-run charter bus service. Working with others while handling the organization’s funds has taught her about teamwork, she says. She also is a Discovery Adviser, which has helped her realize the importance of time management and the ability to help her fellow students.

“It’s a crucial program, especially for incoming freshmen,” she says. “Students need to realize that college is fun, but they need to get their academics together, too. We show them different study habits, ways to get connected to other students and to just ease their transition.”

Wills hasn’t given up on music, either. She’s played the piano since age 6 and got into Bach and Chopin at age 9. She now minors in music and teaches the instrument to friends.

“I feel like I’m getting better on piano,” she says. “My classes are helping my technical skills and I’m able to improvise a bit, too.”

Wills’ work has impressed Rebecca Kissling, lecturer in the Chemistry Department.

“Saintedym is a can-do person,” she says. “She visualizes what she wants to be and sets about to accomplish it, with seemingly boundless energy. The fact that she has served as an undergraduate TA for both philosophy and organic chemistry says a lot about the breadth of her talent and interests as well as her willingness to share her knowledge and experience with other students in the University.”

Wills hopes to go to medical school for anesthesiology.

“I’m really happy with what I’ve done here,” she says. “I’ve worked hard since coming here and I value the friendships I’ve made. I feel like I’m much more active here than I was in high school.”

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Last Updated: 2/11/10