Justin Owumi, a 2009 HMS MEDscience alum and current board member and volunteer, discusses his experience at
How did you become involved with MEDscience and why?
I participated in the MEDscience summer program as a high school student before my junior year.
You've mentioned that you participated in several other student programs, how was MEDscience different from the other programs?
The other programs, you come in on either a Saturday, or after school, so it's a nice extracurricular activity but it still felt like just an extension of school. But, I think that the time I spent at MEDscience, it was so cool because it was the one place I could actually participate in hands on experiences that were clinically related.
What about MEDscience help shape you as a person?
Having a patient and working through the problem and then actually being able to diagnose the patient really boosts your confidence. To be honest, in high school I didn't feel like being smart was "the coolest thing". So, being in the MEDscience program was great because it created a safe space where you can really enjoy learning and take risks in how you think.
What was your biggest takeaway from your experience as a MEDscience student?
It really was truly incredible to be surrounded by members in the medical community who were so encouraging and truly validated me in my ability to become a physician, something I wasn't so sure of before. Also, before taking the MEDscience program, the idea of problem solving was never really a concept for me as there's very little opportunity for that in high school. So, it was great having the challenge of figuring "what's wrong" and "what do we do", especially before I went to college.
For students not interested in science, do you think they can still take something away from MEDscience?
Absolutely! It's important for those students to realize that the skills you learn at MEDscience are applicable everywhere, no matter where you are. Sure you're working with a patient and working in a medical scenario, but this model is relevant to every field- whether it's sports, teaching, finance- people are always trying to figure out the answer and problems in their field. So, perhaps you're not well-versed in the sciences or it may not be your passion, but what you do in MEDscience, I can assure you, you will do it in your field of interest.
What are you future plans?
I just got accepted into medical school so I will be attending medical school in the fall and become a medical professor in the future, as I'd like to continue working in education.
What advice do you have for current high school students?
Current high school students should never forget that they are fully capable. Regardless of their current circumstances, they have the ability to create the future they want for themselves if they exercise their will, persevere, and hold themselves to a high standard.