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Alumni Connections

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Vanessa Cedarbaum 2015


Major: Biology specializing in Microbiology


What on and off campus activities did you participate in?

In college, I was very involved in Students Helping Honduras and went on several service trips through the organization. Through that club, I also volunteered at Public School 33 and 12 in a bilingual second grade classroom. As an emergency department research associate, I was responsible for screening and enrolling patients into a variety of studies, including several FDA trials. This experience was my first exposure to the medical field and gave me the opportunity to work with both patients and physicians, but I was only able to commit part-time while I was also in school. It made me really eager to take a gap year so that I could fully dedicate myself to experiencing the medical field and working closely with physician mentors for a more extended period of time.

What did you do after graduating from the University of Rochester?

I worked at Kuchnir Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery as a doctor assistant for my first two gap years. In this role, I was the doctor's go-to person and was responsible for rooming patients, taking medical histories, and managing the doctor's biopsy log. In addition, I helped during the patient visits by scribing, assisting during surgeries, and counseling patients on medication usage. Not only did I learn a lot about dermatology during these years, but I also gained invaluable experience interacting with patients and physicians. In addition, the opportunity to work so closely with doctors everyday meant I gained wonderful and inspirational mentors who I will definitely look to for advice as I continue on to medical school.

What are you doing currently?

At this time, I am finishing up my program at Kuchnir Dermatology for the remainder of the summer. I will be applying to medical school this cycle, and have also been busy working on my application! When I finish my program, I will be conducting research at a public health non-profit to help create educational pamphlets for women whose baby was recently diagnosed with spina bifida. I also plan to travel at the end of the year!

Anything else you think students would want to know?

I know that before I took my gap years, I was a bit worried about staying connected to the university while I wasn't actually on campus, and wondered how that would affect my application. I would want students to know that as long as you make an effort to stay in touch, everyone at U of R is extremely supportive of alumni through their application process. I would also strongly recommend taking a gap year in general! I feel that I have grown so much professionally in the past few years, and feel significantly more confident going into this application cycle than I would have in the past.