Twice the Triton spirit: Twin alumnae to help the medically underserved
The University of Guam has bid twin farewells to two energetic and inspiring alumnae who are taking a bite of the Big Apple as they pursue the next step of their academic careers.
This semester, twins Kamille and Karla Wang are beginning a 28-month physician assistant program at The City College of New York’s School of Medicine in New York City, where they were both selected out of 1,500 applicants for a cohort of 35 students. The program results in a master’s degree as well as a physician assistant certification — credentials they will use in their ultimate goal of helping the medically underserved.
After graduating from UOG in 2015, each with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and an aspiration to go to medical school, the twins took advantage of several opportunities to gain medical and lab experience and explore career options.
They worked at UOG’s College of Natural and Applied Sciences as teaching assistants, helping to manage science labs and heading the Guam Gene-ius science program for grade school students.
They also decided to become certified phlebotomists, which then allowed an experience that inspired their desire to become physician assistants.
“As phlebotomists, we were able to join medical missions to the Philippines and Vietnam,” Kamille said. “The doctors we met listened to our concerns and aspirations to help medically underserved populations. We were inspired by the commitment and compassion of Dr. Rachael Consoli, who has served with medical missions on every continent except Antarctica. She encouraged us to look into physician assistant programs.”
The Wang sisters said their desire to apply to the same school was discouraged by several people who said many schools prefer not to have twins in the same program. But they proceeded with their applications to the CUNY School of Medicine, and following separate interviews, both were accepted.
“We were excited to find that the CUNY mission aligns with our own goals of providing medical care in communities of greatest need,” Karla said. “And they have had twins in a previous cohort.”
The sisters said they expect CUNY will be a perfect fit for them with its similarities to UOG of having small class sizes and highly dedicated faculty.
“UOG has given us so many opportunities for both intellectual and personal growth,” Karla said. “Over the years our professors and CNAS administrators have really nurtured our progress and created an environment for us to develop academically and professionally.”
Something else will be familiar for Karla and Kamille in their new endeavor at CUNY: one of their former classmates. Another 2016 biology alumna, Jaydylee Martin, was accepted into the school’s physician assistant program this year as well.
Watch out, Big Apple — the Tritons are coming!