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MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY: Exercise Science
CURRENT EMPLOYER: National Institute on Aging
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Fellow
DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER PATH :
My career path started performing undergraduate research with Dr. Scott Mazzetti in the Laboratory for Human Performance (LHP) at Salisbury University. I knew I was interested in what happened to the human body with exercise and why nutrition was so important to health. Performing research for 3 yrs with Dr. Mazzetti on resistance exercise and energy expenditure, and other various studies, allowed me to practice doing science and see the possibilities of exercise physiology research. Wanting to learn more about the cellular and molecular processes involved with processing energy, I applied for and was selected for internships at Univ. of Rochester Medical Center (2010) and Boston University Medical Center (2011). In both instances, I studied mitochondrial morphology, how our cells maintain healthy mitochondria, and how mitochondrial morphology changes with disease (i.e. diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's). When I graduated from SU in 2012, I knew I wanted to apply for dual-degree MD-PhD programs so that I could combine my interests in human health and disease with bench-top cellular and molecular research, but I wanted to get more research experience to make me a more competitive applicant. I began by volunteering in the Dr. Rafael de Cabo's at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) [Baltimore, MD], one of the 27 Centers that are a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Starting in November 2012, after 5 months of volunteering, Dr. de Cabo brought me on as a full time Postbaccalaureate IRTA Fellow, where I have worked since. I have had the wonderful opportunity to study how various genetic, nutritional, and pharmacological interventions can affect the aging process, showing us possible routes and targets that may help humans live healthier and maybe longer lives. I have worked a lot on insulin signaling and antioxidant pathways as well as with skeletal muscle stem cells. My journey in science has been very fruitful in that I have been able to explore all of my areas of interest: aging, muscle, and metabolism. I also earned offers of admissions for 3 NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTP): Univ. of Minnesota, Univ. of Rochester (NY), and UCLA. I have decided to accept the offer from UCLA's MSTP. I will move this summer and spend the next 8 years receiving some of the best clinical and research training in the world.
MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED WHILE ATTENDING SALISBURY UNIVERSITY:
The most important thing I learned at SU was time management.
WHAT CAMPUS ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS WERE YOU INVOLVED WITH?
I was involved in research with the LHP and was President of the Medical Careers Society. Additionally, I spent most of my time in the Center for Student Achievement as a Tutor and Supplemental Instructor.
BEST COLLEGE MEMORY:
It's so hard to pick just one memory as the best so I would have to say graduation. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and great experiences with friends/mentors both in and out of the classroom.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SALISBURY UNIVERSITY?
I chose SU for the exercise science major. In high school I wanted to be a jazz guitar major but once my grandmother passed away I realized I didn't have a passion for music like I had prior. Refocusing on health/fitness, I was really impressed by SU's Health and Sport Sciences Dept.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE SALISBURY UNIVERSITY IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE AND WHY?
Close-knit, welcoming, passionate.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT AND WHY?
I don't go on many vacations but I really enjoy exploring parts of my surroundings in my time off. For example, there is so much to do in Baltimore and if you dig deeper you can find there is a lot of interesting history and culture that we often overlook in our day-to-day.
My greatest accomplishment is being an example for my younger brother, Xavier. With a scholarship to College Park as a Physics major, he is much more intelligent and mature than I was at his age. I am proud to be his brother.
WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I try to meditate everyday, whether it's for 5 minutes or 30 minutes. I find it helps me focus and keeps me balanced. In addition to learning how physical activity and nutrition affect human health, I am interested in how mindfulness and meditation can affect health and disease.
I enjoy staying active, either hitting the gym or playing IM sports with co-workers and friends. I also still really enjoy music. I don't play much anymore but I do enjoy sharing new music and seeing live shows.
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