Success Stories

Name: Kristin Berretta
Where you're from: Montreal, Canada
Year you graduated from the USF MCOM MS program: I will graduate in December 2012. Program/concentration: Pre-Professional Masters of Medical Science
Advice for future USF MCOM MS applicants and/or students: This pre-professional program is a very time consuming and challenging year, therefore, be prepared to devote yourself to the program. The program is an intensive year that, with dedication, will absolutely prepare you for health professional school.

Name: Steven Gunther
Where you're from: Venice, FL
Year you graduated from the USF MCOM MS program: 2010
Program/concentration: Molecular Medicine
Advice for future USF MCOM MS applicants and/or students: Learn as much as you can. Whatever your plans are in the future, you’ll only be challenged more as you progress. If you enjoy what you are learning and you are curious about everything from the ‘big picture’ to the small details, you’re in the right place.

Name: Amber Heyna
Where you're from: Port St. Lucie, FL
Year you graduated from the USF MCOM MS program: 2012
Program/concentration: Medical Sciences Pre-Professional Program
Advice for future USF MCOM MS applicants and/or students: DO IT!! It is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Even if you have the MCAT score and the grades to get in to the school you want, I would highly recommend this program. Just imagine how many of us are already coming into medical school having taken most of these courses already. For most of us, we are in the top of our medical school classes!

Name: Josiah Hill
Where you're from: Denver, CO
Year you graduated from the USF MCOM MS program: 2012
Program/concentration: Pre-Professional Program (MSP3)
Advice for future USF MCOM MS applicants and/or students: I would advise any future MS applicants that admission to and subsequent graduation from any master's program does not guarantee matriculation to medical school. It is ultimately up to you to perform very well in the program and show your passion and determination for wanting to get into medical school.

Name: Brad Miller
Where you're from: Weston, Florida
Year you graduated from the USF MCOM MS program: 2012
Program/concentration: Pre-Professional Program
Advice for future USF MCOM MS applicants and/or students: 1. Reinvent yourself as a student and applicant learn new habits; disregard those that don’t work and perfect those that do. Branch out and expand your social and intellectual comfort zones. Set defined goals for yourself (eg. I want to be within 1 S.D. of the national averages in MCAT and GPA for matriculating medical students) 2. Don’t hold anything back; envision the student/applicant you wish to become and take every step and opportunity to embody that vision. Work harder than you think you are capable of, you will surprise yourself.

Name: Melissa Rosas
Where you're from: Temple Terrace, Florida
Year you graduated from the USF MCOM MS program: Graduated in August 2011
Program/concentration: Molecular Medicine
Advice for future USF MCOM MS applicants and/or students: My biggest advice is to not give up on your dreams. It may take a few tries to do what you want to do, but it will be worth it in the end. Be persistent, make connections, go out of your comfort zone, be patient, and don’t settle!

Name: Lecia A. M. Brown
Where you're from: Clarendon, Jamaica
Year graduated from the USF MCOM program:
USF Ph.D. area of concentration/dissertation topic: Neuroscience/The Potential Role of Antiretroviral Efavirenz in HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
Current Role/Affiliation: Vaccine Development at GlaxoSmithKline; Founder of LAMB (www.lambinc.org)
Advice for future USF Ph.D. applicants and/or students: 
1) Find the right friends/colleagues that will push you when you are down, and help you when experiments get rough. They will also be there to celebrate with you every step of the way. It’s not about quantity... it’s about quality.
2) LIVE IN THE LAB! Just because USF work hours are 9-5 doesn't mean that should be your work schedule (that's why you have your badge). Find something you LOVE about your research and it will make waking up early and going to bed late worth it. Get there before everyone, and leave after everyone every day. You get out, what you put in.
3) Challenge yourself beyond the curriculum. Find ways to see your research at different angles. Ask yourself questions that bring life to your research. Who does this affect, and do I actually know anyone directly? Where can I go to find out more about what is happening outside of the lab related to my research? You will be surprised how your research comes to life before your own eyes when you directly interact with affected individuals.

Name: Geoffrey Ciarlone
Where You’re From: Tampa, FL
Year Graduated from the USF MCOM Program: 2016
USF Ph.D. Area of Concentration/Dissertation Topic: Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology/Hypercapnic Hyperoxia Increases Free Radical Production and Cellular Excitability in Rat Caudal Solitary Complex Brain Slice Neurons
Current Role/Affiliation: Research Physiologist, Undersea Medicine Department, Naval Medical Research Center (Medical Service Corps, US Navy)   
Advice for Future USF Ph.D. Applicants and/or Students: Make sure to explore all the career paths available to you once you have your Ph.D. Your skill set qualifies you for much more than you may realize, so follow your passion and be as excited as possible about your next step.

Name: Mackenzie "Max" Martin
Where you're from: Griffin, GA
Year graduated from the USF MCOM program: 2016  
USF Ph.D. area of concentration/dissertation topic: Neuroscience/Targeting Tau Degradation by Small Molecule Inhibitors for Treatment of Tauopathies 
Current Role/Affiliation: Postdoctoral Scholar/ Duke University Advice
Advice for future USF Ph.D. applicants and/or students: 
For applicants;
1. Do some research during your undergraduate career to make sure you like being and working in a lab;
2. Find a lab you like and take the time to read about the professor's research, also if possible, try and talk to the professor, students and employees of that lab;
3. During the interview, show you are passionate for wanting to join the program and conduct research. Small Molecule Inhibitors for Treatment of Tauopathies
For Students;
1. Be patient; research takes time and results do not always come easy or quickly; 
2. Always give your best and never give up each and every day. It’s easier said than done, but keep these goals in mind as motivation. You will become a better researcher, your experiments will eventually work, and you will have success (graduation/publications), and your research is crucial in helping others;
3. Aim to be balanced: work hard in the lab and in the program, but also make time for a healthy lifestyle and social life. You'll be a better overall person in the long run!!!     

Name: Nadine Nelson
Where you're from: Guyana, South America 
Year graduated from the USF MCOM program: 2015 
USF Ph.D. area of concentration/dissertation topic: Molecular Medicine/The Role of Ikaros in T Cell Development and Function in a Murine Model of Pancreatic Cancer
Current Role/Affiliation: Postdoctoral Scientist at AstraZeneca (Cambridge, UK)
Advice for future USF Ph.D. applicants and/or students: Apart from focusing on the science and publishing, I strongly believe that it is just as important to be involved in activities outside of the lab. The Ph.D. program at USF affords students many opportunities to present their research at conferences and symposiums, apply for internal and external scholarships and grants, collaborate with colleagues and be actively involved in a number of student organizations. These activities will help to demonstrate your leadership abilities, reflect your ambition and willingness to learn, and will make you a marketable candidate for the next stage of your career. More importantly, this will also help to create a strong personal and professional network during your Ph.D. years.

Name: Jeannie Stephenson, PT, PhD, MS, NCS
Where you're from: Born in Connecticut. Now from Tampa, FL.  
Year graduated from the USF MCOM program: PhD in Medical Sciences 2014; Masters in K30 Program in Clinical and Translational Research 2009 
USF Ph.D. area of concentration/dissertation topic: Area of concentration – Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology
Title of Dissertation: Longitudinal, Quantitative Analysis of Gait and Balance in Friedreich’s Ataxia 
Current Role/Affiliation: Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine
Advice for future USF Ph.D. applicants and/or students: My advice to anyone pursuing a PhD is to find an excellent mentor and pick a dissertation topic early on in the program. Persistence and hard work are key to your success. Never give up on your goal to attain the PhD, no matter what obstacles you may encounter along the way.