School Chapter Spotlight Series: PCOM Rise Philly (Part 2)
In part 1 of this interview series (found here), we spoke to the former president of RISE Philadelphia's PCOM chapter, who served during the 2022-2023 school year. In this second part of our two-part series, we were able to speak to many of the new members of the PCOM chapter for the current 2023-24 school year who recently transitioned into their roles.
We wanted to learn more about their history with RISE Philly, what they're be doing in their respective E-Board roles, and what they’re looking forward to this year with RISE Philly!
We spoke with 4 of the new PCOM E-Board members: the new president, Neha Bhardwaj, vice president and external coordinator, Alyssa Roberts, internal coordinator (and member of our college preparatory committee), Amanda Nguyen, and treasurer, Alex Sophabmixay. Neha, Alyssa, Amanda, and Alex are all first-year osteopathic medical students.
PCOM RISE Philly’s new E-Board has a mix of experience with RISE Philly, but we’re always thrilled to have new faces join and help us work towards our mission!
How did you hear about RISE Philly, and have you been involved with RISE Philly before?
Neha: Being President was my first involvement in RISE Philly, but I am so grateful to be a part of the organization! I first heard about RISE through our annual student organization fair. Even early on as an M1, I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization with such an important mission.
Alyssa: I heard about RISE Philly through an activity fair on my campus when I was taking master's classes here last year. I applied to be a tutor for RISE only a couple of months before applications for e-board positions came out.
Amanda: I heard about RISE Philly this year from the PCOM activities fair in the fall. I had not been involved with this organization until this year.
Alex: I heard about RISE Philly at a PCOM Club/Student Organization fair! I'm not from Philadelphia, so I've never been involved with the organization. However, I'm having an excellent experience with it so far!
What made you want to get involved with RISE Philly?
Neha: Prior to attending PCOM, I volunteered briefly as a tutor with Cornerstone Christian Academy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this experience, I began to notice the uptick in education issues associated with virtual learning and the pandemic. Being a resident of West Philadelphia for 6 years, I saw firsthand the consequences of pandemic learning gaps after volunteering at area elementary schools. I noticed that there was a need for extra learning support for many students, particularly due to certain areas of the school district lacking the appropriate resources or time to devote to students who needed extra help. I loved the idea of virtual tutoring through students in health profession schools that were willing to serve as a mentor and an academic support resource. I also love how there are so many ways to be involved with RISE, whether that be as a blog writer, a tutor, executive board member, or as a member of the logistics team. RISE truly offers the perfect community service experience as students can allot as much time as they would prefer to their roles with maximal benefits.
Alyssa: I've been a private tutor since the pandemic started, and I knew I wanted to continue using those skills when I started medical school. Because of that job, I also know how inaccessible private tutoring is, and I was looking for an opportunity to help kids around PCOM gain access to a more individualized education.
Amanda: I have always loved tutoring and helping other students achieve their academic goals. I strongly believe in the importance of education and thought that RISE Philly was a great opportunity to give back to the community this way and to provide free resources to students who many not be able to afford other tutoring services.
Alex: During my college years, I had very meaningful experiences working as a tutor and participating in various educational outreach events. It's because of those experiences that I knew I wanted to continue engaging in similar activities in medical school. So, when I first heard about RISE Philly, I was super excited to find out more and hopefully offer my service as a tutor!
What are you excited about doing as a member of the PCOM RISE Philly E-Board this year?
Neha: I am so excited to serve as President among a group of such passionate and dedicated individuals within PCOM's executive board and the chief executive suite composed of older students, along with neighboring schools' executive boards to encourage Philly-wide tutoring initiatives. It is truly a privilege to work with selfless individuals who truly go above and beyond to ensure students are receiving the support they need to succeed. Education is a crucial part of success and preparing a student for their future.
Alyssa: I'm really looking forward to participating in and organizing back to school nights and parent-teacher nights with our school. These events are when RISE gets to show our face in our community and get word out about our services.
Amanda: I am excited for the college prep committee to begin its work in building resources for upcoming juniors and seniors of local high schools to prepare for college. We have already compiled a document with resources for things such as SAT/ACT prep, personal statement writing, choosing a college, and dealing with the FAFSA/finances. Currently we are working to develop a recorded lecture series on these same topics.
Alex: As the new RISE Philly treasurer at PCOM, I'm very excited about organizing events that will help foster more interest in RISE Philly in prospective tutors! I believe RISE Philly has the potential to have a very strong impact on the students it serves. So, I'm looking forward to working with my team to share our passion for RISE Philly with others!
What are you looking forward to accomplishing with RISE Philly this year?
Neha: Within the PCOM chapter, we hope to encourage more students to become members and to host sessions with other organizations on campus regarding the importance of education within the community. I hope to expand our membership of other programs at PCOM, such as the PsyD and Biomedical students, as they are an incredible asset. Finally, I hope to host a speaker that will talk about the integration of medicine and education within community service.
Alyssa: I'm hoping to get more students from the Philadelphia community involved in our program this year. We're already off to a great start!
Amanda: I look forward to helping to expand the realms of education that RISE Philly is able to reach through the college prep committee and I look forward to creating some more great student/tutor pairings.
Alex: I'm looking forward to working with my team to help share RISE Philly's passion for helping younger students develop the skills to achieve their academic goals!
We're so happy to have Neha, Alyssa, Amanda, Alex, and the rest of PCOM's new RISE Philly E-Board with us this year! We can't wait to see what they have planned for the community and our students. The E-Board members at all our chapters are so crucial to our organization, and we wouldn't be able to help our students without them! We want to thank Neha, Alyssa, Amanda, and Alex again for chatting with us- we can already tell that it's going to be another great year here at RISE Philly!
If you'd like to be involved with RISE Philly, we are always looking for tutors for our students! You can sign up at this form here.
Author: Nha-Thi Luu, second year Master's in Biomedical Sciences student at PCOM