Student Insider: Farrah Fong Part 2

We're back with more of Farrah Fong's STEM and medical school stories and advice for you! Keep reading to discover her insights on how to study and overcome study guilt!

 Image courtesy of Farrah Fong

Image courtesy of Farrah Fong

Evolvher: What were the biggest challenges in med school and how did you overcome them?

Farrah Fong: The biggest challenge for me was probably the sheer volumes of information we were expected to learn in a very short amount of time—something that our professors often referred to as trying to “drink water out of a fire hydrant,” a pretty accurate comparison.

Developing an effective study method and schedule was absolutely crucial, and learning to be adaptable also helped a lot. There will likely be times where study methods that have previously worked might not be as effective, so learning to roll with the punches makes a big difference. I experienced a lot of study guilt (feeling guilty whenever I was doing something that wasn’t studying), but taking periodic breaks is also extremely important! Having a great support system was also key—I went into study hibernation before taking my boards, and am very thankful that I had such understanding and supportive friends and family!

Evolvher: Many high school students think they need to decide on a career before they graduate and go to college. Advice for them?

Farrah Fong: I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for you to know what you want to go into before you go to college—I feel like college is where you get a wealth of opportunities to explore your interests so you can figure out what you want to do with your life. In high school, just try to do well so that you can get into a good college.

Evolvher:  If you work hard and have stellar grades, does it matter if you don’t go to a top-tier/Ivy League school?

Farrah Fong: I definitely think it absolutely does not matter whether or not you go to a top-tier/Ivy League school. Medical school is expensive enough as it is—there’s no need to add even more to that debt early on. Go to a decent school and do your best to get great grades and a competitive MCAT score. Get research experience if possible, and find professors, physicians and/or mentors who can write you strong recommendation letters. Find a cause you’re passionate about and volunteer for it. Shadow physicians so you can get a feel for what life as a physician would be like, and try to get some volunteer experience involving direct patient care if you can.

Evolvher: After 4+ years of hard work, many seniors in college feel burned out. Advice on how and when to pursue a graduate degree?

Farrah Fong:  By all accounts, I probably should have felt burned out during and after college. I talked my deans into eliminating my unit cap so that I could take as many classes as I wanted. In my four years, I took over a hundred courses, was the officer of two clubs, worked 2-3 part-time jobs, and also volunteered at 1-2 hospitals and a clinic. Music was my “de-stress” major (which isn’t to say that it never stressed me out, but it was a great outlet), and I used my extra-curriculars as breaks from studying. (This is why I’m such a big advocate for finding a balance—my extra-curriculars helped to keep me sane.)

I took a gap year in between undergrad and graduate school to do an informal postbac program because I was trying to save money. I enrolled in my local community college to retake a few classes I didn’t do very well in in college, and also took a number of other science courses to raise my science GPA. I continued volunteering and working, and also used that time to study for and take the MCAT. However, getting into the classes I needed was pretty difficult (community colleges are unlikely to give you any priority at all in registering for classes if you already have two degrees) and I had no research experience, so I decided to enroll in an accelerated master’s program.

To read more of Farrah's advice, read her first Student Insider here.

STEM & Entrepreneurship Summer Reading List

While the last thing you probably want to do this summer is read another book off of a reading list, but trust us–these books will inspire and inform you about real people in STEM and entrepreneurship!

Student Insider: Farrah Fong

In our first of two Student Insiders featuring Farrah Fong, the blogger and now doctor(!) tells Evolvher how you, too, can prepare for–and survive–medical school!

 Image courtesy of Farrah Fong

Image courtesy of Farrah Fong

Educational Background:

  • BS, Exercise Biology: University of California, Davis

  • BA, Music Performance (Piano): University of California, Davis

  • Master's of Biomedical Sciences: University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey (Piscataway), now Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, 2016: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Evolvher: How did you choose which schools you wanted to attend and which fields to study?

Farrah Fong: UC Davis was always my first choice for college—I felt right at home when I visited there. People were friendly, it had a great science program, and was semi-close to home, so I was ecstatic when I was accepted there! I’ve always loved animals, so in high school, I actually wanted to be a veterinarian (that was part of why UC Davis was my first-choice university!).

I was waffling between becoming a vet or a physician, but since I was accepted as a Biological Sciences major into UC Davis, and the prerequisites for both fields are very similar, I figured I’d have time in college to decide what I really wanted to go into. I ultimately decided that medical school was what I wanted most. I ended up switching majors from Biological Sciences to Exercise Biology because the required courses looked so interesting and fun! (One of my best life decisions!) I also decided early on to pursue a double major in Music Performance because I didn’t want to give up that part of my life, so I figured I’d do both! 

Choosing a grad school was a difficult decision for me because I was also accepted into a program that was located close to everyone and everything I loved. Ultimately, I decided to complete an accelerated Master’s program at UMDNJ—a post-bac program that offered research experience and the same (or comparable) courses as the ones we’d be encountering in medical school. It was a small program and the faculty were very supportive and really cared about our well-being and success. I’m really glad I chose to come here, and as a matter of fact, I liked it here so much that this is where I’ll be completing my residency!

I knew that I was interested in primary care before entering medical school, so I figured an osteopathic medical school would be the best choice in terms of preparing me for that. WVSOM became my first-choice medical school after I went there for my interview—people were very friendly and really seemed to care about the students and treat them like we were all family, and it was in a gorgeous town that was relatively free from distractions, so I figured it’d be perfect!

Evolvher: We know medical school is a big decision. What inspired you to become a doctor? 

Farrah Fong: During winter break of my freshman year, my family got sandwiched in a giant car accident that led to my grandmother being hospitalized, and ultimately, she never left. I spent my spring break in the hospital translating for her, but was overwhelmed by how helpless I was—I had no idea what was going on and what I could do, and I needed that to change. I applied for and was accepted into an internship at Paul Hom Asian Clinic, a student-run free clinic completely staffed by volunteers, and volunteered as a medical interpreter and patient advocate. My experiences there are what made me fall in love with Family Medicine, and volunteering there was easily one of my most valuable experiences in college (and really just life in general). I would love to return to that clinic someday as a volunteer physician!

Evolvher: How did you find the motivation to push through with the MCAT and medical school?

Farrah Fong: One of the things I will always advocate for—in school and for life in general—is to find a balance. The MCAT is definitely not a fun exam—I viewed it as a necessary evil. I’m not entirely sure I would recommend what I did, because I actually spent the two weeks before my exam on a Mediterranean cruise. I brought all my study material with me, so my schedule was basically waking up early in the morning to study, go to the gym, eat, study, explore a new country, eat, study, gym, rinse and repeat. It definitely made for awesome built-in breaks though, which are crucial for giving your brain a break!

As for medical school, just remember to keep your eye on the prize. Things will get tough, but keep on trucking! Don’t forget what made you decide to go into medicine, and just keep that in mind when you feel like giving up. Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people and don’t let negative self-talk get you down. What also really helped me was maintaining a life outside of medical school—I volunteered at animal rescues (it’s hard to be stressed out when you’re cuddling cats and walking dogs) and within the local community and also kept up a good number of my favorite hobbies.

 Image courtesy of Farrah Fong

Image courtesy of Farrah Fong

LA STEM Summer Guide

Whether you're vacationing or staycationing in Los Angeles this summer, there are tons of science, technology, engineering and math activities you can do! Click through our guide to get planning your Southern California summer.

Perfect Films for a STEM Movie Marathon

This Week In STEM & Entrepreneurship

 Image via  Fortune

Image via Fortune

Highlight of our week: Fortune's headline that "Girls Outperformed Boys on the First-Ever Federal Test of Tech Skills." The latest Technology Engineering Literacy Assessment showed that 45% of eighth grade girls are proficient while only 42% of eighth grade boys are. While that leaves lots of room for improvement, we're excited to see that girls are showing the world what they're capable of!

 Image via

Image via

After noticing a lack of fellow female students not being encouraged to pursue STEM, three New Zealand students joined together to create GirlBoss. Their entrepreneurial spirit has led them to create a sold out STEM conference taking place in New Zealand on May 23. Cheers to their entrepreneurial drive and love for STEM–the core of Evolvher!

 Image via  ET Tech

Image via ET Tech

Tech giants like Accenture, Dell and Intel are making room for women! The tech companies have each recently launched different programs to promote and encourage females college students in India to join their companies. From hackathons to mentoring programs, these technology companies are correcting the problem of a lack of women in STEM. To read more about what these and other companies are doing to hire women in STEM, click here.


STEM Summer Jobs in the Midwest and South

You don't have to be in LA or NYC to get a great STEM summer job! Checkout our list of these options located between the coasts.

1. Mad Science Summer Camp – Chicago, IL

Looking to sleep in this summer but still have a job? Check out this part-time paid job as a "Mad Scientist" teaching afternoon science classes to kids!

2. The Laboratory: Science and STEAM Story Camp – Chicago, IL

Multiple positions available at this STEAM summer camp in Chicago. Apply today before the jobs are gone!

3. Aptean Development Intern – Atlanta, GA

Put your coding skills to the test with this paid internship at Aptean. Click here to apply.

4. ID Tech Summer Camp Jobs – Multiple Locations

Enjoy the fun of technology while working at big-name schools this summer! ID Tech hosts summer camps throughout the country and they are hiring!



Celebrity Scholarships

Check out these two awesome celebrities who are helping students, like yourself, achieve their educational dreams by providing scholarships. 

Celebrity Endorsement: Rihanna

Associated With: Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program

Application Deadline: June 10, 2016

Fine Print: Available to a citizen or native of Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, or Jamaica going to study in the United States. 

Celebrity Endorsement: Karlie Kloss

Associated With: Kode With Karlie - Flatiron School

Application Deadline: Not open yet

Fine Print: Sign-up below to get more to get notified when applications open up. Also, click below to learn about the scholarship class of 2015. 




East Coast STEM Summer Jobs

Time to get a summer job! We know finding one can be a little difficult, but that's why we've rounded up these five STEM summer jobs on the East Coast. Have a look and get applying!

1. Camp Pixels – New York, NY

Get kids interested in STEM while getting to have fun! Camp Pixels hosts tons of technology and computer science camp programs and they're hiring! Check out this page to apply!

2. HYPOTHEkids – New York, NY

Add "Coding and Technology Instructor at Columbia University" to your resume when you work for HYPOTHEkids STEAM summer camp! While that might be a tad bit of a stretch, the HYPOTHEkids camp is held at Columbia University! Apply here to be part of their summer team.

3. Software Engineering Paid Internship, Hewlett Packard Enterprise – Southborough, MA

Work for one of the biggest computer companies! HP is hiring a software engineering intern and they're paying! Learn from some of the best and get great experience! Here's the application.

4. Instructional Technology & Design Paid Internshp, Accolade – Plymouth Meeting, PA

Interested in working in healthcare? Why not apply to be an Instructional Technology and Design intern with Accolade? They're a medical concierge company recognized by Forbes magazine to be one of the top 25 most promising companies! Details about the internship here.

5. Software Developer (C++) Paid Internship, Fidessa – New York, NY

Gain experience in technology while working in the finance industry! Fidessa's offices boast great views of New York City and they have many paid tech internships available for college juniors and grad students. To apply and learn more about their company, click here.


Geologist Road Trip: Top 5 Places To Visit This Summer

Interested in what's on the ground more than what's in the sky? We have you covered! 

We've compiled the top five spots that you should visit this summer to feed your geology curiosity. 

Yellowstone National Park

Location: Yellownstone National Park, Idaho/Montana/Wyoming

Fact: The most geysers, about 300, anywhere on earth.

 Mammoth Cave National Park

Location: Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Fact: World's longest known cave.

La Brea Tar Pits

Location: Los Angeles, California

Fact: For thousand of years natural asphalt has been coming up out of the ground.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Location: Big Island, Hawai'i

Fact: This year the park is celebrating it's Centennial.

Grand Canyon National Park

Location: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Fact: Named by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage site.



West Coast STEM Summer Jobs

Summer vacation is right around the corner and if you're looking to put your STEM skills to work and make some money between binge watching your favorite Netflix shows, check out these awesome jobs on the West Coast!


Tech Instructor at Galileo Innovation Camp for Kids – California

What better way to spend summer than by getting paid to do your favorite tech activities? Teach kids 3D modeling and printing, video game design and Mod Design with Minecraft®! Galileo Innovation Camps are located throughout California and they even have job openings for students with shorter summers. Apply here!


FREEDM Systems Center REU for Engineering Undergraduates – Arizona

Spend 10 weeks getting paid to do research with other undergraduate engineering and computer science students! Arizona State University hosts the program, provides on-campus housing and will even pay for your travel if you're coming from over 50 miles away!


InnoVista Sensors Engineering Paid Internship – Condcord, California

Are you studying mechanical/aerospace or electrical engineering, computer science, math and/or physics and live in the Bay Area? Check out this paid internship with InnoVista Sensors


CodeVana Summer Camp Paid Internship – Oregon

Gain experience at CodeVana in website and software development, and assist building curriculum for coding summer camp! Teach kids to code while gaining experience and building your resume. 


Girls Rock Math Camp Teachers – Seattle, Washington

Love math? Now encourage kids to love it, too! Girls Rock Math camp is now hiring summer camp teachers and it could be you! Check it out here.

Astronomer Road Trip: Top 5 Places To Visit This Summer

Not sure what to do with your summer? Pack up a road trip with your friends or family and visit these five locations in the U.S. Each of these places are perfect for the budding astronomer. You'll be amazed with what you are able to see with your own eyes, but just in case don't forget to pack a telescope.

So start planning your star-gazing road trip now. You'll definitely make your friends back home jealous when you Instagram photos (like the ones below) at each of these locations and are able to say #nofilter. 

 Image by  Nate Levesque

Image by Nate Levesque


Location: Mount Desert, Maine



Location: Coudersport, Pennsylvania


 Image by  Wayne Pinkston

Image by Wayne Pinkston


Location: Death Valley National Park, California & Nevada


 Image by  Jacob Frank

Image by Jacob Frank


Location: Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska



Location: Lake Powell, Utah



5 Signs You Might be a Zoologist

  1. You've loved animals for as long as you can remember

  2. You smell like the zoo even after you've showered twice (but you don't mind)

  3.  People mistake you for a veterinarian all the time

  4.  You take better care of the animals than you do of yourself -- sweeping the zoo is so much easier than sweeping your house

  5. You're constantly telling people how to properly pronounce "zoology." It's zo-ol-ogy not zoo-ol-ogy. 

Interested in being a zoologist? Many schools across the country like Cornell, University of Wisconsin and Washington State University all have zoology programs! 

3 Math Camps To Attend This Summer

 Image via  North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics

Image via North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics

North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics Summer Accelerator

Location: Durham, NC

Length: 12 days online or 5 days on campus

Dates: May 30, 2016 - July 29, 2016

Deadline: Ongoing until course begins

 Image via  Stanford University

Image via Stanford University

Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Length: 4 weeks on campus

Dates: July 10, 2016 - August 6, 2016

Deadline: July 10, 2016 - August 6, 2016

 Image Via  Math Circle

Image Via Math Circle

LSU Math Circle

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Length: 4 weeks on campus

Dates: June 6, 2016 - July 1, 2016

Application Deadline: May 6, 2016

This Week In STEM & Entrepreneurship

 Image via   NASA

Image via NASA

More than 14,000 people across the globe participated in NASA's annual hackathon last year, but only 20% were female. Why so few? NASA thinks they've cracked the code. According to NASA's research, women want a safe space and to be able to contribute. Now NASA is reaching out to women to participate in hopes of inspiring more women to join. This year's hackathon is this weekend and NASA hopes that you'll be there! Check out their Space Apps Challenge website see the amazing challenges and to join.

 Image via   Motherboard

Image via Motherboard

From telecommunications to STEM education, Stella Uzochukwu is paving the way for young girls in Nigeria to succeed! Saddened by the idea of girls in Nigeria being married at a young age to support their families, Uzochukwu left her telecommunications job and started the Odyssey Education Foundation in Abuja, Nigeria. The school teaches girls STEM so they can have a bright future!

 Image via   Glamour

Image via Glamour

Never before has a completely solar-powered airplane circumnavigated the globe but engineer Paige Kassalan is one of three women helping to make that idea a reality! Without a manual instructing her how to do her job, Kassalan and the team working on Solar Impulse must learn as they go and rely on their gut instinct to solve problems. Interested in seeing how the world's greenest airplane works and how Kassalan does her job? Check out the details here

How to Choose a College, Part 2

 Image Via  CollegeDegrees360

So you've read our five factors to consider when choosing a college and have probably narrowed down your list of colleges. But what if you still haven't made a decision? Lucky for you we have more hints on how to choose a college! Consider these four factors when making your decision and you should be set! 

1. Student Life

What is it like to be a student at the school? Are there lots of clubs and activities? What about sororities and fraternities? Check out the college websites to see what they offer and be sure to ask about these on your campus tour.

2. On-Campus Housing

Are you planning to dorm on campus? While we think dorming is a great way to meet other students and experience living away from home, you should check with your college to see what their housing options are. Some schools only guarantee on-campus housing for freshmen and some offer co-ed dorming on the same floor. Be sure to find out what the housing situation is at the schools you're considering so that you can see what your options are.

3. Diversity

College is a great place to meet people from different backgrounds and walks of life. If you're used to a diverse community, then a school that doesn't have a diverse population probably won't be comfortable for you. Check with the school to see what kind of population they have so that you can be sure to find a school you'll love.

4. Large vs. Small Schools

Public school or private school, colleges vary greatly. Public schools are typically larger and have a higher student:professor ratio and private schools tend to be smaller and have smaller student:professor ratios. Are you looking to be surrounded by 30,000 or more students and can't wait to join hundreds of other students in a lecture hall? Then a large school might be the right choice for you! Keep in mind that it might take longer to graduate from a larger school due to the amount of students crowding you out of classes.

All set to make your decision? Awesome! Now check here for some scholarships!

5 College Engineering Scholarships for Females


Lillian Moller Gilbreth Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $14,500

Available To: Junior, Senior

Anne Maureen Whitney Barrow Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $7,000

Available To: Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior Senior

Fran O'Sullivan Women in Lenovo Leadership Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Available To: Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate

Chevron/SWE Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Available To: Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior

Northrop Grumman Corporation Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Available To: Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior

Want to see more scholarships? Click here!

This Week In STEM & Entrepreneurship

Video Source: The White House

This week, the White House played host to their annual White House Science Fair. More than 130 of the country's best and brightest STEM and Computer Science (CS) students from over 30 states met President Obama to show off their work. Additionally, STEM celebrities like Bill Nye the Science Guy, Adam Savage from "Mythbusters" and model/CS advocate, Karlie Kloss, were there, too, and took lots of Instagram photos with the students!

  Image Source:  UC Davis

Image Source: UC Davis

Having trouble deciding where to go to college (we wrote an article about how to choose a college here)? How about UC Davis? They were just named the number one school for women in STEM by Forbes! With the most female STEM students of any University of California school, and with a growing number of female STEM professors, UC Davis is proving that females can rock STEM education!

  Image Source:  Jamel Toppin/Forbes

Image Source: Jamel Toppin/Forbes

How did the problem of nothing to wear turn into a billion dollar company? Just ask Jenny Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman, Founders of Rent the Runway. The entrepreneurs gave their best advice to other female entrepreneurs at the UBS-sponsored weekend intensive. Their number one tip? Don't be afraid to talk big money. More about the event and their advice here

How to Choose a College, Part 1

 Image via  CollegeDegrees360

Received your college acceptance letters? Congratulations! But now comes the hard part: Choosing which school to attend. Making such a big decision can be scary, but if you follow these guidelines, your decision should be easier to make!

1. Don't let rejection get you down

With an estimated 20 million students applying to college each year, it's no surprise that many of them don't get into their top school. If this happens to you, don't worry! Your future is not doomed because you didn't get into MIT or Stanford. There are over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States. You don't have to attend a top-tiered school to succeed. If you work hard and do well, you will succeed at any college you attend!

2. Location, Location, Location

What schools have you been accepted to attend? Are they close to home or on the opposite side of the world? Where your school is located is a very important factor to consider.

Do you prefer the city or is a rural location your dream? If you're looking for easy access to shopping, dining and weekend activities, then a school that's situated in or near a city will be a better choice for you than a school that is more isolated. But on the other hand, if the thought of studying in a city isn't your thing, consider a school farther away from large cities and opt for a school in a small town.If you plan on attending a community college or plan on living at home and commuting to school, you will obviously want to choose a school that isn't too far away.

While the idea of going to school in another state can be exciting, keep in mind that it also comes with the added cost of out-of-state tuition and extra travel costs.

3. Compare Curriculum

Different schools have different programs. Check online for the Bulletin for the program you're enrolling in to see what the required classes are. If you're going to major in computer science and one school has a better developed and more extensive computer science program than another you're considering, you'll probably want to consider the school with the better curriculum.

4. Money, Money, Money

Probably the biggest deciding factor you'll face when deciding which college to attend is money. The price of attending college varies greatly. Some colleges can cost over $50,000 per year while others are less than $20,000.Luckily there are lots of financial aid opportunities for students that can help earning your degree more affordable! First, make sure you've completed the FAFSA. We have a post on why you have to do it here. Without the FAFSA, you can't received federal financial aid. If you've already completed the FAFSA, great job!

Check with your top colleges to see what their financial package is for you. Ask them what scholarships and aid you can receive from them and what you can expect to pay. Many schools have merit-based financial aid for incoming freshman that can help reduce your tuition by $1,000 or more and a few schools even offer 100% tuition coverage!

If you're still looking for more aid, check online to see what scholarships you might be able to apply for. There are tons of scholarships just waiting for you!

Once you've factored in all of your aid, you can see how much you owe and see if you can get loans to cover the rest. Keep in mind that attending a college that's out of state can cost you more in tuition and travel costs.

5. Tour Your Top Schools

Once you've narrowed down your list to your top two or three schools, arrange for a tour of the campus. Most schools offer free private or group tours which you can usually arrange by visiting the college's website or by calling their Admissions office. The tour guide will show you the campus and answer any questions you may have. It's a good way to experience the school and see what it 's like! 


Still can't decide which school to attend? Check back next Thursday for part two where we answer more questions about how to choose a college!