Student Leadership Advisory Board Spotlight: Ana Torres, UVA '19

Abigail Hoang
Ana Torres

Ana Torres is a 4th year Kinesiology major on the pre-medical track. She is currently planning on doing a year abroad and a master’s program before matriculating to medical school. Ana has represented the Pre-Health Student Leadership Advisory Board as a Member-At-Large in 18-19 and as the President of the Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Health Honor Society in 17-18. Here, she talks about ARCHES and her involvement in this summer program.

Academy of Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship (ARCHES) 

What is ARCHES? 
ARCHES or the Academy of Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship is a summer internship program at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. This is a highly competitive 6-week residential summer internship that focuses on giving a small group of rising 3rd and 4th years a unique experience developing their research, clinical skills, and service experience. 

How did you learn about ARCHES? 
I learned about ARCHES through Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Health Honor Society (DHW). Every year, DHW takes interested members to regional and national conferences. At the 2017 Regional Medical Education Conference (RMEC), I was able to speak to the program director who was tabling at the resource fair at the conference. RMEC and the national conference - Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), are open to all pre-health students, however, by joining DHW you are able to get some financial assistance and guidance at these events. 

RMEC and AMEC are great places to network. Many of the attendees at this conference are medical students, physicians, admissions officers, and other pre-medical students who are interested in helping you succeed on your path to medicine. In addition to meeting new people and building valuable relationships at these conferences, there are unique workshops to help strengthen your candidacy, confidence, and knowledge about what is needed to get into medical school. Some examples of these workshops include: 

  • What is Osteopathic Medicine? 
  • How to Write Your Personal Statement + Personal Statement Review 
  • Pre-Med Recruitment Fair 
  • MCAT 101
  • How to Be a Successful Applicant 
  • And many more!! 

What made you decide to apply to ARCHES? 
I applied to ARCHES for a variety of reasons. First, the timing of ARCHES allowed me to fit two different programs in one summer. ARCHES runs from late June to early August for six weeks, allowing me to also study abroad. Second, I had never completed research before. I wanted to have the experience, before deciding for sure that I didn't want to do research in the future. Third, ARCHES offered a unique mix of experiences that typically would be the focus of a single program. In ARCHES you get to do research, shadowing, and community engagement, which, is hard to find all in one place. 

Can you describe a typical week in ARCHES? 
Once I was in ARCHES I got a lot more than what I initially expected. The program team tries to pack as many beneficial experiences as possible into the short 6 weeks, so every day was extremely busy. Each day was pretty different, but on the other hand, the week structure was more consistent. Every Monday to Wednesday, we worked in the lab from 10-5PM which was different for each ARCHES fellow based on past research experience and interests. After lab on Mondays, we would attend a Mind, Body, and Medicine discussion. The Mind, Body, and Medicine discussion was a place to explore different ways to cope with stresses in life. This is a popular course that not even every medical student at Georgetown is able to take. Tuesday evenings consist of MCAT bootcamp. Then every Wednesday evening, ARCHES held diversity dialogues focusing on a variety of topics including race, sexuality, and being an ally. Friday afternoons consisted of going to a community organization for service learning. Though this was the typical structure, there were additionally talks/workshops during mornings and lunches. On average, the day was filled with activities from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. The experience was very busy yet very rewarding.

Why would you recommend this opportunity for other UVA students? 
ARCHES gave me so much more than I could have expected. It opened my eyes to the complexities of medicine in a constructive way that has helped me see how I may engage with these challenges in the future. I got to do a lot of things I had never done before and was supported the entire way. I was able to do research, shadow different specialties I had never considered, and grow with a great group of like-minded individuals. The biggest takeaway for me is that I discovered a home at Georgetown Medicine. I am happy knowing that my home will support me wherever my path takes me.

What does the application process for ARCHES look like? 
The ARCHES application opened in November and will close February 4th. The application includes 4 essays and 1 short answer question, 1 recommendation letter and evaluation form, unofficial transcript, and resume. After the application is submitted, applicants will be notified of interviews around February 11th. Applicants will be notified of being selected as an ARCHES fellow around March 22nd. This year, 10 ARCHES fellows will be selected. 

Some resources for the applicaiton are listed below: 
Frequently asked questions: https://som.georgetown.edu/ARCHESFAQ 
ARCHES Fellows 2018:https://som.georgetown.edu/diversityandinclusion/ARCHESFellows2018 
ARCHES Fellows 2017: https://som.georgetown.edu/ARCHESFellows2017 
Webinar Schedule: https://som.georgetown.edu/ARCHESwebinars 

Is there anything else you would like to share? 
Don’t let the competitiveness of the program scare you and keep you from applying. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Have confidence in your strengths and be your best self!  Another great point is that it is a free program that covers housing and parts of your meals and transportation. You also get paid a $4,000 stipend!  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me at my email at apt4hs@virginia.edu