April 25, 2017

Is an intimate college experience possible in a big city?

Education College

Content sponsored by RutgersNativeBadge2017

Michelle Wong - Rutgers-Camden Rutgers University-Camden/for PhillyVoice

Michelle Wong is a graduate of Rutgers-Camden’s class of 2015.

You can find Michelle Wong at the University of Pennsylvania doing cancer research or at Thomas Jefferson University studying for her master’s degree. And if she’s not to be found at either of these locations, she’s probably applying to medical school.

Wong is a graduate of Rutgers-Camden’s class of 2015 as a member of the Honors College. She grew up in the suburbs of South Jersey but wanted to be in a city for college. Wong spent her first two years of college at Temple but ultimately didn’t find her niche.

“I loved the diversity at Temple, but it was a huge school. As a biology major, lectures with 200 students were overwhelming. Overall, something just felt off. I think I felt anonymous.”

She decided to apply to transfer from Temple, with the desire to remain in a city but at a smaller school. She transferred to Rutgers University-Camden and immediately knew she made the right decision.

“The first two advisers I met with were so helpful and excited, which made me excited to be at Rutgers-Camden. They viewed learning as an individualized experience, so I was getting personalized attention. It made the transfer adjustment much easier.”

Wong says that she “hit the ground running” because she was anxious to start the next chapter of her college experience.

“I went to the big activities fair and fell in love with a lot of organizations there, one of them being Sigma Delta Tau. Joining SDT allowed me to become friends with a great group of girls that I had throughout my two years.”

In addition to clubs, a lot of Wong’s time was spent conducting research among professors who offered individualized attention with their research assistants.

“I always wanted to get involved with research. I found a research opportunity at Rutgers-Camden through my microbiology class that allowed me to study fungus and bacteria. I also did a semester-long research project observing plants, which resulted in a published paper in an internal publication called 'Letters and Microbiology.'"

Wong also became president of the university’s American Medical Student Association (AMSA), an organization that helps pre-medical and pre-health students
 at all junctions of their journey until they become professionals. While serving as president, Wong won the national AMSA scholarship to go to a medical conference in Washington, D.C. She attributes her opportunity to take on a leadership role to Rutgers-Camden’s small size and the campus adviser of the AMSA.

“My advisers will ask me to come back to speak because they believe I made a big impact there. I always say yes because it’s really them who had a big impact on me! The professors at Rutgers-Camden were always so approachable.”

Wong entered the university knowing her passion and left with active experience in the field. As she says, “I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician and possibly specialize in cardiology.” There’s no doubt that she will thrive wherever medical school takes her!