My mother discovered that I had absolute pitch when I was seven an ability that has given me an ear for music, helping me in my music journey to achieve honors such as performing at Carnegie Hall and at many benefit concerts. My passion for classical piano has molded my character to make me who I am today. I am intensely persistent because of the countless hours of music practice. I am a deeper, more thoughtful person today because I have learned to listen to a composer's dynamics in order to interpret the emotions of dozens of pieces. Around the same age my love for music began, I remember I would sit by my father at the dinner table and lose myself in his stories about his days as a physician, which included miraculous saving of lives as well as witnessing the heartbreak of death. When my dad shared how he once saved a pregnant woman's baby after she was involved in a fatal car accident, I remember feeling so many emotions - joy for a brand new life that was saved, heartache for the mother who would never see her baby, and pure admiration for my dad's commitment to his calling to help his patients. I realized what was missing in my music was a calling, a calling I found in my desire to become a doctor like my father, to save lives and serve others.
What began as curiosity soon budded into an intense desire to understand more about the biological principles behind medicine. In high school, I was fortunate enough to intern under Dr. Kang Zhang, an ophthalmologist at the University of California, San Diego to investigate the potential of endogenous retinal stem cells to regrow rat lenses. As I performed my first RNA extraction - as I stared at part of the code of all life - I was utterly speechless. It was the first time that I experienced firsthand the magnitude of biomedical research and the possibility of new treatments that offer hope for patients without any options. The more I investigated the genetic and cellular world in hopes of restoring these patients' vision someday, the more I became passionate about understanding the mechanisms that govern it. How could this world be so infinitesimal, yet have so much to learn from? I felt galvanized to be like Dr. Zhang and other scientists and physicians who discover new ways of delivering care and healing to patients.
As a college sophomore, I was able to engage in an entirely different aspect of medicine - the compassion and interpersonal relationships that are crucial for effective patient care by volunteering at an urgent care walk-in clinic in my community. During bustling days, I actively assisted in taking and inputting patients' vitals, sometimes helping forty or more patients. I was intrigued when I would accompany Dr. Jiannan Wang and watch him patiently and warmly address their health-related questions. He explained to me that patients are not seeking to obtain medical knowledge, but are rather expressing concern for their health. Thus, a good physician mitigates the patient's concerns with an understanding and empathetic mindset. I was deeply inspired by his attitude that fosters a patient's trust and confidence, and how he constantly assumes the patient's point of view in order to empathize with the patient's fears of potentially unfamiliar and frightening illness. In this, I witnessed firsthand the quality health-care delivery that constitutes good medicine. From what I learned from Dr. Wang, no matter if it was reviewing the provider's instructions regarding their treatment with patients or improving the patient portal so that providers could more efficiently document patient information, I performed even the most menial task with a heart to make patients feel well-cared for.
Recently, I was assisting a patient with her patient portal while serving as a volunteer at the Ronald Reagan Hospital at UCLA, and I had a flashback to when I was assisting in a similar capacity as a high school volunteer at Kaiser. As I looked back upon those five years, I was amazed at how much my conviction and passion to become a doctor have grown. During these five years, I performed in piano concerts to raise funds for charities, including hospitals. Along with my friends, I also served at Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. I heard heartbreaking stories and observed many unaddressed, physical and psychological needs, but there was nothing I could really do to help. Through these experiences, I realized I wanted to have a direct impact on the lives of those who are suffering. As a physician, I want to serve and directly impact the lives of my patients whether that is in the inner city like Skid Row, in rural areas without an adequate number of doctors or in impoverished countries. I have often thought about this question: What makes an outstanding doctor? From what I have internalized, I believe that in order to be one, I must be willing to give the entirety of myself for others, to not only empathize but to act on it, and to not only have a mind eager for knowledge but also a heart just as eager to fight for the sake of people of all sorts in need. I truly believe medicine is a calling, something bigger than me, and I want to follow in my father's footsteps to do my part, to give the gifts of life (and quality of life) and health to those in need.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Bachelor of Science, Physiology
ACT Composite: 34
ACT English: 34
ACT Math: 35
ACT Reading: 33
ACT Science: 35
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 131
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 131
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: 129
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 129
Piano, basketball, hiking