This grad no bookworm

Oct 02, 2003, vol. 28, no. 3
By Stuart Colcleugh

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“You don't need to be a genius to study medicine,” asserts second year UBC medical student Anne Huang, who graduates from SFU this month after recently obtaining the transferable credits needed to complete her honours bachelor of science degree in biology. “You just need to do the work”

And as Huang's experience shows, you don't necessarily need to have the top grades to attend medical school either, provided your other strengths are impressive enough.

“My cumulative GPA was 3.49 and my last 60 credits were in the A minus range,” says the Burnaby North secondary school alumna. “But most students get in with a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or higher.”

What Huang did have, however, was a diverse list of academic and extracurricular accomplishments that together form a clear impression of someone with the maturity, research experience and personal qualities of a future doctor.

“I constantly seek out opportunities that allow me to grow,” says the Taiwanese native, who immigrated to Canada with her family in 1992 when she was 14.

Such opportunities included sports, photography, numerous school committees and piano lessons in high school, and guiding canoeing trips, figure skating and church volunteering in university.

Following first-year sciences at Queens university in April 1997, Huang transferred into second year biology at SFU where she became involved in both campus and departmental affairs and as a peer health educator.

She also volunteered as a beaver leader with Scouts Canada, an emergency ward visitor at Royal Columbian hospital and as a first aid attendant with St. John ambulance.

Her academic accomplishments include a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research council undergraduate scholarship to study pesticides and an eight-month co-op with the Royal British Columbia museum, during which she helped create a handbook on southern Vancouver Island butterflies.

“As soon as I was certain of my aspiration to become a doctor, I tried gaining experiences that would foster emotional growth and encourage me to reflect on my motivations for choosing medicine,” recalls Huang.

Chief among them was her summer 2001 volunteer placement in rural Botswana, Africa with the Canadian Crossroads International, working with HIV/AIDS patients.

“The skeleton-thin image of the dying patients has found a permanent spot in my conscience,” she says, and prompted her to consider a career in international health, perhaps with an organization such as Doctors Without Borders.

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