At Queensborough, Former Student Discovered Creativity, Intuition, and Passion for Scientific Investigation

Published: August 10, 2016

Emily Hughes graduated from Queensborough Community College in the spring of 2008 with an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in Chemistry. She earned a total of 25 honors credits and conducted undergraduate research under Dr. Jun Shin of Chemistry and Dr. Regina Sullivan of Biology.EHughes

While Emily always had an aptitude for and interest in the sciences, she finished high school unsure what academic path she would take. She chose to seek direction through the workplace, and moved to New York City to work as a certified surgical technologist. After proving her proficiency in several specialties, including the etiology of diseases, surgical techniques and anesthesia, she joined a transport team that brought a prematurely born infant from the neonatal intensive care unit to the operating room for surgery, where she held retractors normally used in adult hand surgery, to give the surgeon access to the baby’s kidney.

In 2003, Emily took part in her first medical mission to Ecuador where she witnessed “poverty and injustice on an unfathomable scale.” There, physicians examined more than 500 people and performed over 100 procedures, including cleft palate repairs and skin grafting to restore mobility. Her forty-member team worked together to transport supplies, sterilize instruments, and support each other during the many 14- to 16-hour days working in the hospital. “When I returned home I was haunted by the memory of the hundreds of people who still lined the hospital hallway on the last day of the mission, hoping to receive desperately needed care. I decided then that I wanted to become a physician.”

Emily’s decision to return to college as a working adult meant that she had to be resourceful and make the most of every available opportunity. She found work as a Tech Fee Student, Workshop Instructor and peer tutor in the Queensborough’s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP).

Emily also was offered an independent research opportunity in organic chemistry that helped develop her creativity, intuition for troubleshooting, and passion for scientific investigation.

After graduating Queensborough in 2008, Emily matriculated into the Honors College at SUNY Stony Brook and was subsequently accepted into their highly regarded pharmacology program. There, her research in osteoporosis led to publication and presentations on the development of a novel compound to treat a prevalent disease. Emily graduated from Stony Brook in 2010 and is now continuing to pursue her career while raising a family. In January, 2016, she was accepted into the New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers University.

“I know in my heart and mind that, as a physician, I will be able to work in the community, both here and abroad, to improve access to medical care for all. I have had the privilege of working alongside excellent physicians, and I am aware of the struggles and sacrifices involved in medical training and practice. For me, I know it's worth it.”



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