My Voice

18 December 2010
Beck, here is my voice again. I'm not sure what I'm going to write about, but here I go...

I know that some of you probably have been wondering what I've been up to and where I've been. Well, nothing too exiting has happen in my life. It's been very boring actually. I have had three MD/PhD interviews, and I feel like I belong in these programs or at least an MD/PhD program.

My first interview was at Boston University in October. BU was a great place. I really liked and felt like I fit in. My interviews went very well and the old Dean of Admissions told me that I would be "a good fit" at BU. I lOVE Boston and definitely could live there, so I wouldn't mind living there for 8 some odd years. The only problem with BU is that I don't receive my stipend all my years of school. The is a down side and I don't want to go into debt, especially when I will be starting my career around age 35.

My second interview was at Tufts University in November. It appears that the Boston schools like me and think I'll fit into their program. Tufts was also a great school. I fell in love with one researcher and his research. He is an up and coming researcher who is proving wrong many of the believed concepts of T cell activation. He would help my career go far. Also, Tufts is very keen on mentoring. They constantly have people checking up on the MD/Phds and helping them through the long process. Another benefit is that I am funded all of my years of school and I receive a stipend. One problem is the push to finish the program in 7 years. I wonder if moving through the program faster could be a disservice to students.

My last interview was last weekend at NYU. I absolutely loved NYU! The school is amazing, the people are amazing, the research is amazing, the immunology department is amazing, the facilities are amazing, and NYC is always amazing. Right now, I would consider NYU my topic choice. I was very impressed with their dedication to infectious disease immunology. They are currently expanding the immunology department, which means a lot of new, up and coming researchers will be at NYU. Also, I felt a strong sense of belonging at NYU. I was well received by all my interviewers and I made friends quickly with students. I also made a really good friend at NYU who was also an interviewee.

The first round of acceptances for all of these schools is in January. I hope I hear good news from all of them. I am still waiting to hear back from 8 schools. That means that I have had 3 interviews and 9 rejections. I'm pretty sure that at least half of the schools left will send me a rejection.

Ummm, that's my schooling life. I'm not sure what else to write about. I am very happy with where I am and I love what I'm doing. I have found peace and harmony in my life. I love the east coast and I love DC. I can't see myself moving back to the west coast anytime soon. I still consider myself churchless. I haven't gone back to church in a very long time. I have no desire to. I have allowed my home teachers to come and talk to me and the missionaries have started knocking on my door (I have yet to answer the door because they always come at the worst times). My home teachers seem only to be there to get their quota in because they don't put much thought into their lessons and make them specific to me. Also, they are trying to get me to come back to church. They have never asked why I no longer attend and they never ask if they could do anything for me. So yeah...

Political issues... Politics are politics and I don't care to talk about them. Also, I don't care to get involved either.

Yeah, I guess that is my voice right now. There isn't much to it probably because everything is going very smoothly for me. Things are working out and I feel really good about my life. The decisions I am making are what's best for me and I'm continuing on the path I've set up for myself.


My friend Seth is in a documentary entitled, "Disciples." It's about three openly-gay ex-Mormons in Arizona. Here is a link to the documentary for any who are interested.

PS I'm not dead... :D

Joel Burns, "It Gets Better"

14 October 2010

This is the best "It Gets Better" movie I have seen so far. I absolutely love every aspect of this. It is raw and full of emotion. What I love even more is that it happens during a city council meeting.

Thanks Kenz for sharing this with me!

Life As It Is

22 September 2010
My life is as it is. It is interesting to see it fall into similar patterns of life no matter where I am. I have now lived in Maryland for nearly three months. I can't believe it. It sometimes frightens me how fast it has gone, but that's not the point of this post. My life has fallen into the same pattern as it has everywhere I've lived. For example, I have never had many friends. I have many "acquaintances" who are my friends at work, school, etc., but not people who I hang out with or party on weekends with. When it comes to actual friends, I have few and far between. In the three months that I have been here, I have four friends. I would only consider one of them pretty close and I only met him a little while ago. Two of my friends are old friends from BYU and we do things every now and then, one is my second cousin (we have a lot in common and it's fun to be around him), and the last is someone I met through my second cousin. They all live in DC, so my weekdays are pretty lonely in good ole Fredneck, but I have fun on the weekends with my friends or by myself. I go to parties, clubs, bars, church, and hang outs to meet people to become my friends, but they never become my friends. They are place in the "acquaintances" category. This frustrates me.

I want and need more friends, but it seems like I cannot make any. I want someone to call me to do something. I want someone to show up at my apartment randomly. I want to stop organizing get togethers. I don't know if this will ever happen though. I recently stopped going to church because nobody in my ward talks to me. I have only had four people talk to me at church and none of them remember me the next week. The bishop and second counselor haven't even remembered me. It's kind of frustrating because I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb in church with the people of Fredneck. I've tried striking up conversations with a few people, but it's awkward to say, "Hi, I'm new to the ward. My name is Sean." You think that they would already notice you are new talk to you. It seems like the people in my ward are more concerned about the visitors. Why? I don't know. What I do know is that the people in my ward talk to the visitors more than they talk to me. It's disheartening.

Another example happened last night. I went to a gay Mormon party to watch the season premiere of Glee (PS I thought it was a little lack luster). There were a lot of people there and they basically all knew each other fairly well. They asked me a little about myself and what I was doing. After I told them, it seemed to stop. Nobody really talked to me anymore. I felt like I was the odd man out. That I was different from the rest. That they didn't want me there. Don't get me wrong. They were all very welcoming, but I personally didn't feel welcome. Maybe it will come with time. I don't think I'll go again though. I need to find a place to meet young professionals, like myself. That way I will have things in common with them, and hopefully I can make friends because acquaintances only go so far.

Gay Rights Movement? What Gay Rights Movement?

13 September 2010
If there is a gay movement going across the nation right now, will someone please educate me? I don't see a movement pushing forward and changing the nation and society's beliefs.

This is my opinion of the whole "Gay Rights Movement." There isn't one. I know that people will say, "What about HRC or No Hate?" I say those aren't movements at all. They are very localized with no thrust behind them. In my opinion, these groups are not large or unified enough AND their supporters are a bunch of floozies that do not participate in their planned activities. In order for a gay civil rights movement to occur, the leaders of the groups must unite and learn from the examples of the original Civil Rights Movement and Feminist Movement. The leaders and members of these movement knew how to change the nation and the world. We must draw upon their examples (I'm not going to go in-depth on what they did, but I'll talk about the generalized basics).

In my Sociology of Gender course, I learned that in order to have a successful social movement the following three aspects are needed: leaders must draw upon frustration and discontent, the leaders must build upon existing social networks and organizations with social power, and favorable political opportunities. Then in order to form a social movement the following three conditions must be present: a precipitating event that creates a new consciousness among a group of people, that core of people organize and attempt to mobilize others, and that the people in the group have the same consciousness and desires. If we look at this criteria, we have already started a social movement. A lot of the movement started with Harvey Milk. First, he created a new consciousness among many LGBT people by showing them that they are equal members of society. Second, he ran for office, brought others together, and mobilized them. Finally, the people under his leadership had the same goals, equality. He started the movement, but with his death, it disappeared quickly.

Where does that put us now? We have part of what we need to start a movement, the collective consciousness. After Milk's death, the collective consciousness that he started has stuck around throughout the decades; however, the organization and the mobilization of others is severely lacking. This stems from the various organizations trying to get the movement going. Are the leaders drawing upon frustrations? Yes, but they are not using the frustrations of the people to progress the movement. I think they are using it as a publicity stunt to become social lights and nothing more. Are the leaders building upon existing social networks? Yes, but these networks have no power. These leaders have no social capital or power. Is the political environment favorable? Yes and no, because there are still some problems all over the nation with politics.

What are the problems with the movement? The gay rights organizations are not using their social power (well, the little power they have) effectively. Also, they are not mobilizing the people and the people will not mobilize themselves. After Prop. 8 was overturned, the west went crazy, but the east didn't even care or hear about it. There was relatively nothing in the news back here. I'll attribute that to the lack of power or the lack of using power from the gay rights organizations. In addition, I heard of no protests or strikes that went on the east coast after the overturning of it. Again, that is the fault of gay rights organizations.

Would you agree with me that the movement is not unified and mobilizing? Answer the four following questions and see if you agree with me.

Do you know where your local gay rights movement organization headquarters is?

How many of you would be willing to get up away from the computer and the comforts of your home to go on strike at your state capital or nation capital for weeks, months or years?

How many of you participate in publicized boycotts?

How many of you are willing to be completely open honest about your orientation (i.e. holding hands in public, kissing in public, having people at work know about your orientation, not acting differently around people who don't know about your sexuality, etc.)?

These are four simple questions I would like you to consider. I bet very few of you would do one or two of these, let alone any. I will admit that I would not participate in strikes and boycotts. That is me and my personality, but I know where my local office is and am open and honest about my orientation. I do not hide anything. If people ask me if I am gay, I will tell them. I act the same no matter where I am at in society. I am always myself.

Some of you are probably wondering why I am writing a semi-political blog then if I'm not willing to get involved in politics. The reason is because I am sick and tired of hearing people proclaiming equality and freedom when something like Prop. 8 was overturned. That does not make you equal. You must change society's perception in order to become equal, otherwise we'll be like the African-Americans after the Civil War and until after the Civil Rights Movement. Also, I do not participate in politics because I have yet to see a good organization develop with the necessary tools to cause social change. When one eventually rises from the dust, I may get involved (and maybe you feel like me so the movement will never go anywhere, but I am fine with my situation and my life the way it is).

Anyways, these are my musings. Take them for what they are worth to you or demolish me and my thought processes. I don't care, but this is the way I see the Gay Rights Movement, and I see it going nowhere.

Madonna - Little Star

01 September 2010

-"Little Star" by Madonna

This song always makes me happy and soothes my soul. :)

Boyhood Dreams

25 August 2010
I've been running away from life for about the past two hours. I finally came in because I was tired. I have never ran through Frederick at night. It is strangely beautiful and takes me back to simpler times. Simpler times where Frederick was the major cross road of a large highway in the 1700s and 1800s. I ran down the brick side walks, through Market and Church Street, and into Baker Park. It cleared my mind of the agony of the day, but now it is back. I don't know if I can rid myself of the agony I'm going through at the moment. It makes me wish for simpler times where my boyhood dreams would come true. Sigh...

I'm sure you are all wondering what I was running away from. I guess I should tell you. I was denied from 3 MSTPs (MD/PhD programs) today, which is over 10% of the schools I applied to. I feel like a ball of crap and that my dreams were fleeting... Was I ever good enough? Will I ever be good enough? What did I do wrong? Did I do anything right? What should I do? Are my dreams from my childhood and never meant to come true? I don't know, but I would like some answers to these questions I might not ever receive answers to.

I feel like I'm supposed to be a medical scientist. That why I moved to Maryland to perform more research and to further my career as a medical scientist. Is it in vain? People tell me I am supposed to be a medical scientist. Why can't the admissions committee see that? All I want to do is work at an academic medical center--teaching graduate and medical students, and performing research on the frontier of medicine. That's all I want to do. This is my dream, but maybe it's just that, a dream...

People will tell me that I still have 17 schools that could possibly want me... I realize that, but having 3 schools deny me in one day hurts; its some of the worst pain I've been in. I've broken down and cried multiple times. I cried as I opened every letter. I cried as I was running. I've cried since I've been home. I feel like my world is shattering all around me. That the pieces of glass are embedded in my body and causing me all of this pain. I need an escape, but no escape until I know that at least one school wants me.

Could these be fleeting boyhood dreams? Possibly...

Happy Madonna Day!

16 August 2010
Today is Madonna's birthday! It is a celebration that should happen around the world. Her music has taught me to be strong, passionate, playful, driven, myself, non-judgmental, proud of myself, not to be afraid of others judgments, and many other great and amazing things. Here's to the Queen of Pop! And no, I'm not referring to Lady Gaga. I'm referring to the one who did it all before her and who still reigns supreme!

Happy birthday Madonna!

Proposition 8

15 August 2010
Before I say anything serious about the subject, I wanted to say that it is hilarious how when the ruling was made that everybody in the west was freaking out, but nobody in the east cared. It seems like more than land distances the east from the west... Anyways, now back to what I wanted to say.

I don't believe I have ever said this on my blog before, but I supported the No on Prop. 8 campaign. The reasons for this are many, but I will name a few and possibly elaborate on them. First, I believe that God brought us here to make choices and determine what is the path of life we want to take. Isn't that what Jesus fought for in the pre-existence? Satan supported control and making everybody follow God's will to get back to heaven or Satan supported letting man do whatever he wanted with no consequences, thus gaining salvation no matter what (whichever you believe... I've heard both and I am more partial to the second). However, Christ fought for the ability to choose, and that is what God wanted. He gives us commandments to follow through prophets and personal revelation, BUT it is our choice whether we follow these or disregard them. That being said, it means that everybody should have the choice to do what they please and not have anyone else impose their beliefs on them. I'll give one caveat, I believe this in full unless it harms another person e.g. murder, stealing, rape, etc. I do not see same-sex marriages falling into this category. How are they harming other people? I see no harmful causes and if someone does have a harmful cause, please enlighten me and prove it with scientific evidence.

Second our country was built upon freedom, specifically many of the people who came to America were looking for religious freedom AKA freedom of beliefs. People wanted to believe what they wanted without persecution. That is the main reason they left Europe. Our Founding Fathers then said that all men (and women) are created equal and have certain unalienable rights, those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If people are not allowed to enter into same-sex marriages (I consider marriage to be part of the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness), they are not equal. However, our Founding Fathers stated that all men (and women) are CREATED EQUAL and have rights. This would make LGBT community second class citizens. Does this sound familiar? African-Americans were considered second class citizens for thousands of years. They did not obtain their full rights until 1968. Even though we have come a long way, some people still consider African Americans as second class citizens (then LGBT folks are lower to some... I guess that makes us third class citizens or pond scum). If we are all created equal, have certain unalienable rights, and are free, shouldn't we all have the EXACT same rights? I believe so.

Third, different morals does not mean the whole world is going to fall apart and end. People have had varying morals since the beginning of time. This goes back to the choice argument. We have the right to choose what to do and what is best for us. Just because you have different morals than someone else does not make you inherently better than them. They might be one of the most anthropic person in the world, but they might smoke and drink. Does that make you better than them? No. Also, the whole moral argument does not sit well with me. Why isn't there a bigger push to outlaw smoking, drinking alcohol and tea, having sex outside of marriage, having children out of wedlock, eating too much, etc.? All of those are considered morally wrong, but the prophet and the Church are not spending a lot of money fighting all of those evils. It doesn't entirely make sense to me. Where is the logical behind creating a law against one moral, but not another?

Finally, my opinion is completely summed up in this simple sentence written by a close friend. "It is ridiculous for someone to think their personal view of morality trumps someone else's freedom of choice and equality."

I have more I want to write, but I need to do other things. This is to be continued...

Prop. 8 In Brief

07 August 2010
I have some thoughts about the latest Prop. 8 news. I don't have the time to blog about it at the moment, but I will say that this hay-day, or gay-day if you will, probably won't last. You may see me as pessimistic, but I'm just being honest. If all of you think you are equal now just because of California, the truth is that we are not. That is all until I actually write the blog.


03 July 2010
Anyone have some fast recipes for dinner that they care to share with me? I realize that when I moved out here that I mainly know how to cook things that take too long to cook AKA over 30 minutes. If anyone cares to share their fast recipes, I'd greatly appreciate it!

PS I'll get to some hardcore blogging when I have more time. I'm still trying to get settled down here.

Stubbornness pt. 1

16 June 2010
I am one of the most stubborn people you will meet. I am the most stubborn person in my family. I want to hear your thoughts on stubbornness. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it both? When is it good? When is it bad? Can stubbornness be changed?

I'd appreciate any thoughts you all have. After I read through yours, I'll post mine.


This is What I Hope For...

15 June 2010
This is Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl. I hope to find a friend like him while I'm working at the NIH.

Research Experience Statement

14 June 2010
This is the research that I have been doing for the past 2 years. Read it if you are interested or just skip it.

For nearly two years, I worked in Dr. Gregory Burton’s laboratory at Brigham Young University. His studies focus on understanding the molecular interactions between follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) and HIV. Specifically, we examined the contributions of two FDC receptors, CD32 (FcγR) and CD21 (CR2), that played significant roles in the trapping and long-term maintenance of HIV.

My first project was molecular cloning of HIV. We received samples of lymph nodes from HIV infected patients. I isolated the HIV virons and the RNA, and performed reverse transcription. After making cDNA, I PCR amplified the products, inserted the amplimers into vectors, and inserted them into bacteria. I then sequenced the inserts in the vectors and performed phylogenetic analysis of the HIV genome. This work showed that the HIV genome from one lymph node is not the same as another, and that the genome in the same lymph node is very similar. These findings were consistent with past research. This project was used to train me in basic laboratory techniques, and double-check the findings for a paper that is still in the process of being published.

My second project examined different pathways of FDC activation, and if FDCs up-regulate or down-regulate CD32 and CD21 through the different pathways. I isolated FDCs from human tonsillar tissue through positive selection using a FACS machine. To activate the cells, I incubated the FDCs with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), antibodies, complement, immune complexes, immune complexes+complement, neutralizing HIV antibody immune complexes, or neutralizing HIV antibody immune complexes+complement. After the incubation, I extracted the RNA from FDCs, performed reverse transcription, and then analyzed the cDNA with real time PCR. I found that each of these known immune system activators up-regulated CD32 and CD21 at differing degrees. During this project, I also incubated FDCs with alpha-1 antitrypsin. We found that alpha-1 antitrypsin deactivates FDCs, but we did not know why it deactivated these cells. These findings focused our group’s research on determining the intracellular pathways of activation through CD32 and CD21.

My third project focused on discovering the proteins associated with CD21 on FDCs. I hypothesized that CD21 on FDCs is associated with similar proteins as CD21 on B cells, meaning that the B cell co-receptor (CD21/CD19/CD81) is on FDCs. The B cell co-receptor could then activate FDCs in the same or a similar intracellular signaling pathway as B cells. The experimental protocol that I designed was to use fluorescently labeled antibodies to CD21, CD19, and CD81, and then use FRET analysis to determine if the proteins are associated with one another. If they were associated with one another, we would then perform protein cross-linkings and immunoprecipitations to determine the intracellular pathway of activation, and establish if it was the same or similar to the B cell co-receptor activation pathway. I grew hybridomas for CD21, CD19, and CD81, isolated the antibodies, and fluorescently labeled them. Then I isolated B cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) through positive selection using a MACS machine, and I isolated FDCs with the same methods as my second project. After separation of the cells, I incubated them with the fluorescently labeled antibodies, used a confocal microscope to perform FRET, and analyzed the results. When I left the laboratory, I had performed some preliminary trials without the α-CD81 antibody, because we were waiting for the α-CD81 antibody to be produced by another principle investigator. Despite missing the α-CD81 antibody, the preliminary results were promising.

My fourth project studied the role of FDCs in activating CD4+ T cells with a latent HIV infection. Studies have shown that FDCs and FDC supernatant can activate latent T cells, but the mechanism is not known. In efforts to determine the mechanism, I isolated CD4+ T cells from PBMCs through positive selection using a MACS machine. After activating the growth signal with IL-2 in the isolated cells, I would infect the cells with an HIV variant. The HIV variant has a faulty envelope gene that can be used to infect the cell, but its progeny can never bud off the cell. If the infection were not latent, the cell would die from viral overload. However, if the infection were latent, the CD4+ T cells would survive. After the latent infection was established, I induced viral protein formation with differing amounts of PHA+Ionomycin or IL-2+IL-7, measured p24 levels within the cells with α-p24 antibodies, and created dose curves comparing activator versus viral expression. These dose curves were then compared to induction of viral protein formation when the latent T cells were incubated with FDCs and FDC supernatant. When I left the lab, we were continuing to induce latent T cells with FDCs and PHA+Ionomycin or IL-2+IL-7, and we were performing mass spectrometry on the FDC supernatant to determine the protein that is causing latent T cells to form HIV particles.

Currently, I am working in Dr. Jeffery Gildersleeve’s laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, specifically in the National Cancer Institute for a year long post-baccalaureate. His research focuses on developing carbohydrate microarrays to assist in analyzing cellular markers, tumors, and vaccine efficacy. I am working on developing a microarray to test epitopes and specificity of antibodies formed by the HIV/AIDS vaccine. Developing this microarray would give researchers a rapid determination of the efficacy of the HIV/AIDS vaccine in the different stage trials of FDA approval.

MD/PhD Statement

I am pursuing the combined MD/PhD degree because I want to practice clinical medicine, teach, and perform research at an academic medical center. My initial interest in medicine was focused largely on practicing clinical medicine. I saw physicians curing people of diseases, and I wanted to be like them. This desire was further perpetuated through my shadowing experiences. I have shadowed a pediatrician, an oncologist, and a gastroenterologist. Interacting with doctors and patients has strengthened my interest in attending to patients. When I was shadowing the oncologist, I met a woman who had two mastectomies to remove breast cancer. At the post-surgical follow up, she was in tears because she said that she was no longer herself—I wished there was something that I could do. The doctor showed compassion for her, and helped her deal with her new situation. I want to be like him, and care for people in a clinical setting.

In addition to practicing clinical medicine, I want to educate others in medicine. While I have been a coach, a tutor, and a teaching assistant, I have developed a love for teaching. As a teaching assistant, I instructed a few lectures. These lectures were enjoyable to prepare and to teach. I liked sharing my knowledge with others and being able to help them understand the material presented. In addition, as a coach, I found satisfaction in teaching people of all ages how to swim properly and reach their goals. I know these attitudes will carry over into teaching at a medical school. I will find satisfaction in helping my students succeed inside and outside of the classroom, through formal instruction and through patient-physician interactions. Being an educator at a medical school will allow me to use my passion and desire for teaching to help others train to become physicians and properly care for their patients.

Another aspect of medicine that interests me is research, specifically researching immunology. I joined a biochemistry/immunology research group at the start of my junior year, and continued to work there for nearly two years. This group is focused on the biological mechanisms of HIV pathogenesis, reservoir formation in secondary lymphoid tissue, and increased infectivity with follicular dendritic cells (FDCs). The team is studying how to prevent or remove a reservoir of HIV from the body. We found a molecule that deactivates FDCs, which could possibly serve as a treatment for HIV/AIDS patients, and stop HIV reservoir formation in secondary lymphoid tissue. I have found research to be rewarding. It is challenging and I can discover something previously unknown, with the potential to help many who suffer from a particular disease. I want to continue to research to discover the unknown, and increase understanding of the human body and the diseases that affect it, given that basic research of the body and diseases will allow doctors to provide patients with a better quality of care and disease prevention.

Personal Statement 2011

It was the first swimming practice of my freshman year. I walked on the pool deck not knowing anyone, but determined to make the Brigham Young University intercollegiate swimming/diving team. The coach gathered us together and had us introduce ourselves. I discovered that I was one of ten people trying out for one position on the team. Fears crept in and I questioned whether or not I was good enough for the team. Despite my fears, I decided to try out because I knew I would regret not taking the challenge. For the next two months, I tried to prove to the coach that I deserved the one position. I remember the soreness of my muscles that were begging me not to jump into the water, run another stair, and lift another weight. However, I pushed through the soreness and watched as others quit or were cut from the team. The day of the last cut came, and the decision was between a diver and me. The coach pulled me aside to tell me the news; I did not make the team. I thanked him for the opportunity, and I was grateful for the experience and that I made it to the last cut. If I had quit that first day, I knew I would have regretted not trying out.

“I know I will regret not taking the challenge,” has been a saying that has guided me through my decision to become a doctor. At a young age, I watched my grandfather die due to complications from diabetes, and I was hospitalized and operated on for severe appendicitis. Throughout these experiences, I saw many physicians, and was in awe of their knowledge and skills; I wanted to be like them. When I entered high school, I enrolled in the medical sciences track, and learned the demands of the medical field. The coursework was challenging, yet I continued to develop my passion for medicine from the courses I took and my shadowing experiences. I loved learning about the human body and how to help people suffering from disease. Upon graduation, I was ranked first in the track, and I had earned a medical assisting license. A pediatrician I shadowed offered me a full-time medical assisting position. I knew that if I accepted this, I would have to postpone my undergraduate studies and medical school. I declined the opportunity because I wanted to play a more active role in medicine, even though this is the more challenging route.

Between being a biochemistry major, volunteering, researching, and shadowing, I had a demanding schedule in college. From this, I was learning how to be a doctor. However, it was not until I became head swimming coach that I fully understood how doctors feel after helping patients. While volunteering as the head coach, my demands were increased. Despite these changes, I found satisfaction in helping my team succeed and mature. I watched my swimmers improve their times, qualify for state, take third place at state, and learn life lessons. During this time, the stresses in my life seemed to decrease, and I enjoyed my busy life. This is how physicians must feel; they are satisfied with their challenging lives because they are helping others.

All of my preparation for medical school culminated in the early morning on January 1, 2010. After ringing in the New Year, I saw a man and a collapsed woman on the side of the street. They caught my eye and I told my friend to stop the car. The man ran up to us and explained that this woman was thrown out of a moving truck and was unresponsive. Seeing this man’s plight and the woman’s poor condition, I knew that I needed to help her. I ran to the woman and noticed that she was in worse condition than explained. She was foaming at the mouth, her eyes were rolled back into her head, and her breathing was shallow and labored. I used my knowledge from my experiences to try to help her, but it was not good enough. Following my unsuccessful attempt to wake her, I took her weak pulse and respiration rate and called 911. An ambulance arrived, and the EMTs quickly took over the situation. I watched them quickly regain her consciousness. As the ambulance drove off, I wished that I could have continued to care for her, and I was glad this woman received help. After this experience, I knew that I had made the correct decision to pursue becoming a doctor. There was no regret.

After getting cut from the swim team, I had no regret. I did my best and I did not quit. By trying out, I learned that closing one door opens many others. If I had made the team, I would never have been able to volunteer as a swim coach, perform research, shadow physicians, or manage a store. These experiences helped me understand what the best physicians do—they responsibly work to help others, despite the chance of failure. In addition, I learned the strength of the mind. My mind became a powerful tool that was able to push my body past my perceived limits. I was able to swim farther and work harder than I had before. This attribute will be vital in medical school and as a physician, because having strength of mind will give me assistance to persevere. I have learned valuable lessons by challenging myself, and I am excited for the future challenges I will face. Just as I would have been unsatisfied for not challenging myself to tryout for the swim team, I know that I would have regretted not taking the challenge to pursue a career in academic medicine.

Welcome to the Future!

07 June 2010
Welcome to the future! That's what I feel like my life is telling me right now. I'm a graduate from BYU with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in Sociology as Magna Cum Laude. I'm headed off to the NIH/NCI in Frederick, MD at the end of June for a year long post-baccalaureate research position (basically it is a paid internship). I will be working on developing a microarray to test the efficacy of the HIV/AIDS vaccines that are being developed across the nation and world. It is really exciting! :) I'm also reapplying for medical school, but this time I am applying for MD/PhD programs, instead of MD programs. These are much harder to get into, but I'm hoping to receive a position. I would love to research, teach, and practice clinical medicine at an academic medical center. So yeah, that's my update for now. I'll post my application essays soon. Hope all is well with everyone!

PS I was recently diagnosed with Spasmodic Torticollis.


Does anyone know how to get rid of spammers? I tried word verification, but it's not working. I'm sick of the annoying Asian characters appearing in my comments that are not directed at me.

I've Been Bad...

12 May 2010
I've been a bad blogger as of late. Sorry about that. I will write a couple of blogs catching you up on my life for the past 3 months or so... promise!

Shot Down With A Shotgun

22 March 2010
In my Sociology of Gender class, we are supposed to write a paper on a gender inequality and then perform a "service learning" project on the paper. I decided to write my paper on the effects of conservative religion on society's view of homosexuality. The paper is actually very quite interesting and might post it here on my blog, but that's not what I am blogging about today. There is a group of us that decided to write a paper on some issue of homosexuality. Our service learning project involved having a booth in the Wilk and handing out information concerning the Church's stance on homosexuality. We were also planning on having a forum, which discussed the Church's stance and then I had a few people, including myself, that were going to talk about growing up gay in the Church. We thought that by doing this, we could educate some members of the Church and have an open discussion about homosexuality, which never happens in church.

Well, it looks like none of this is going to happen. We went to BYU with an outline of what we were going to present, basically information from God Loveth His Children. However, they didn't even like that. BYU wouldn't let us have a forum and they even wouldn't let us have a booth to hand out information. Some of my group are protesting and handing out fliers south of campus. I would like to do this, but I've almost been kicked out of BYU and I don't need this happening again right before I'm going to graduate in April. I'm going to form the flier to hand out. Anyways, I digress... It makes me sad that BYU and the Church is still sweeping this issue under the rug. All that we wanted to do was educate members. They could choose to listen or choose to come to the forum if they wanted to, nobody would be making them to do either. Oh well, I guess all that I can do is try. I know that having the gay and lesbian members of the Church speak in settings like this would help understanding grow and help those in later generations who are growing up gay or lesbian in the Church not struggle as much. I just wish that the Church would talk about this touchy subject more and show the gay and lesbian members of the Church that they care more than they seem to be showing us.

I know that this project and all of my hopes were wishful thinking. I know that in the past I was hoping that the General Authorities would openly speak about homosexuality in General Conference, but this has never happened. I bet that it isn't going to happen this session either.

Columbia and Baylor

20 February 2010

Last week was my first medical school interview. I headed off to the wonderful city of New York. I stayed there for five days (thank the Lord for a three day weekend) with a good friend who is working for Goldman Sachs, which was nice because my expenses were very low. All that I can say is that I love New York and would love to live in that city. It was magnificent. While I was there, I saw Wicked (amazing), the Financial District, Wall Street, the Wall Street Bull, the Meat Packing District, Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Little Italy, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Art Design, the Museum of Modern Art, and so much more! There was so much to do and I highly doubt I would ever get bored.

I thought that I would be overwhelmed with the city, but I wasn’t. When I first arrived at JFK, I was overwhelmed with getting on a bus to Manhattan and then getting my way to my friend’s apartment. After dropping off my suitcase, I navigated the subways to Columbia all by myself. I was very nervous about that, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I became quickly acclimated to the city.

Columbia is a beautiful place (I’m a sucker for huge hospitals). There was so much going on there that I loved. I loved the curriculum, the service opportunities, the free homeless shelter/clinic, the school, the people, the diversity, and again, much more. My interview was probably subpar. The reason for this was because the first question the interviewer asked me was why I wanted to become a doctor. I told him about my desires to help others, but I also told him about my desire to earn an MD/PhD. He then looked me straight in the face and asked me, “Why are you here then?” The reason he asked me is that an MD/PhD has a different application and interview than an MD. I told him about how my desire to earn a PhD recently developed. I then felt like I was fighting my way back from the grave for the rest of the interview. He was always questioning my motives of being there. I think that I had a decent interview, but not an amazing one. I hope that it works out so that I could go to Columbia, because I loved the school and the city.

I just barely returned from my trip to Baylor. I didn’t spend much time in Houston, but from what I saw, it reminded me a lot of Salt Lake City. This isn’t a bad thing, but I much prefer a bigger city and I prefer something that wouldn’t remind me of home. Don’t get me wrong. I do love Utah, but I am ready for a new place and a new adventure. Houston, being the fourth largest city in the US, didn’t seem like a big city. I still had a good time.

The interview was yesterday and I felt like I rocked the two I had. The first one was with a doctor. She was an amazing, strong woman from Germany (I’m a sucker for strong women). She and I had a lot in common and so the interview flowed very naturally. I had a great time talking to her and she seemed to enjoy our conversation. At the end of the interview, she told me that she was planning on giving me a very strong recommendation to the admissions committee. I’m really stoked for this! The second interview also went well. This time it was with a fourth year student. He asked me some ethical questions and my opinion on health care reform. He agreed what I said in my responses and told me that I gave a good strong response, whereas other interviewees gave lackluster comments. This made me extremely happy. After the seven hour long interview session, full of interviews and tours, most of the applicants headed to an Irish Pub paid for by Baylor. We had free food and some good times. I enjoyed my time there, but I was surprised how many people were getting hammered and smashed. I thought that people in the medical profession would know better, but I guess the socialization of the norms for my age group is still there. It made me uncomfortable so I left, especially because all of the people that I made friends with during the interview session were completely drunk.

I really loved Baylor too! The school was amazing and beautiful! It had basically everything the same as Columbia, except it was in Houston. I really like both Columbia and Baylor. I’m not sure how things are going to work out, but I’m not sure if I would go to Baylor because of Houston. If it were between Columbia and Baylor, I would definitely go to Columbia. I would be happy at either place, but I would be happier at Columbia. I still have one more interview at The Ohio State, so things might change. I still haven’t heard back from the NIH either and that will definitely change what direction I go. If I get into the NIH, I will definitely reapply as an MD/PhD, which I am currently working on.

What happens next year still scares me because my future is still a mystery. I can’t make long-term goals to achieve because I don’t know where I’ll be, but wherever I end up will be the best for me and it will be the best route for me to take in life.

Out of Touch

I feel out of touch right now. I really don't know what to do. My friend told me that he suffers from severe depression that runs through his family and would like me to help him with it. The reason he asked me for my help was because he felt that out of all of his friends I would be able to help him through the hard times. I agreed to do my best, even though I don't know a lot about depression. It's been awhile since he told me about it and I feel like I haven't done anything to help him. I'm completely out of touch. Whenever I try to talk to him, help him, or do something with him when he is depressed, he pulls away. I reach out to him, but he never grabs my out reached hand. It is extremely frustrating. I know that I shouldn't be frustrated, because it is his life and I need to let him come to me. The problem is that the natural doctor comes out inside of me; the care, compassion, and dedication. I hate seeing him in pain and suffering and then not letting me help when he asked me to. I want to help him become happy enjoy life to its fullest. I don't know what to do anymore though because I am so out of touch.

I pose a question for all of you. What should I do? I feel so out of touch and that I need to be doing something differently to help him. Also, don't give me suggestions about therapy and medications because both of those are already happening. I would really appreciate any advice.

Coming Out In Class

05 February 2010
Last Wednesday in my Sociology of Gender class we were talking about victimization of the GLBT community. We started off by talking about the different sociological theories of why the GLBT community is victimized and it was a good discussion. Then it started to get into some iffy ground such as how men choose to be gay and women to be a lesbian, that people telling them they were gay throughout childhood and high school caused them to believe they were gay, etc. People were saying these things I was either going to say something or walk out of class. I have a TA that I knew for sure was gay and is married in a MOM. He got up and came out to everyone. I didn't expect this to happen, but I guess he and the professor had planned this. They knew where the discussion was going to head because it has gone that way many times before. He started talking about doctrine of the Church concerning gay and lesbian individuals and people were not responding very aptly to it. He also talked about how most gay and lesbian people leave the Church and how they have the highest suicide rate. It seemed like the class wasn't understanding the whole topic, so I chimed in.

I raised my hand, was subsequently called on, and told the whole class that I am gay. I told them of my struggles going up with accepting myself and wanting God to take away my gayness because I was a sinner. I talked about the many nights I would plead to God with tears, along with my many sleepless nights. I mentioned when I finally came to terms with everything, I became happy and that I was allowed to become the true me, instead of hiding. I decided to start talking about how I struggled with the Church my whole life and how I still struggle with it, but even more since Prop. 8. I talked of how I didn't like going to Priesthood or Sunday School because of the hurtful things people said. I told them that I still don't go because of it. I also told them how hurtful and wrong it was to treat people the way most Mormons do because they are gay or lesbian. I told them that Mormons needed to be more Christ-like and accepting of everyone. During the time I was getting some weird and disgusting looks, whereas others were giving me looks of acceptance and partial understanding. It was interesting to see how the lines divided between the class and I could see it in their faces.

After class, some people came up and talked to me. They thanked me for sharing my experiences and opening their eyes. Others talked about how I shouldn't judge what people say because the Church is true and perfect, whereas the people of the Church are not and other topics like that. Some also came up and thanked me for what I said and that they were glad that there was an arena where they could finally hear from some and discuss the taboo topic of being gay. I also got this email from W in the class:
I just wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you for what you did today in class. This has been one of the most profound classes thus far for me in my college career. I took a lot of guts to admit that you were gay today in class and even more to admit the hard times you are having with those around you. I find it particularly disgraceful how you were treated in church, and am sorry you have had to and continue to endure things like that. Your faith to me is outstanding and you are an example for all those around you.

I have a friend who is struggling with his self identity right now and I think he would be interested in sitting down and talking with you. As you probably know it’s not something he is just going to come out and talk to anyone about, but he has been looking for some to talk to who understand the importance of confidentiality. If you would not be opposed to this I will give him the option.

I would also like to let you know that should you ever need a friend, or simply a person to hang out with after church or school some time I would be more than willing to be your friend. I think you will find that I am a little more open minded than most people that live in Utah.

I know that this email may seem strange and if you’re really freaked out by it than just ignore it and move on. Never-the- less, again I would like to say thank you for what you did today, and I admire you for the strong person you are.

Overall, I think it was a good, adventurous time. I wrote W an email back and described how I felt like I didn't have much faith in the Church and how we should meet up for lunch sometime to discuss the topic more, if we wanted to. I also told him that I would be more than happy to talk to his friend. He responded that I believe in God and Jesus Christ and that is all that matters. He also wants to go out for lunch sometime. We'll see how it turns out, at least now I have a friend in the class. It was also nice to know that not everybody thought I was a weirdo and that people are actually accepting of me.

Sociology of Gender

03 February 2010
I came out to my Sociology of Gender class today. More on this later...

When I Grow Up

02 February 2010
When I grow up, I want to be in a career of academic medicine. I have been pushing this idea around for the past couple of years and it has really struck me that this is what I really want to do ever since Christmas and it has been getting stronger and stronger each day. I want to be in a situation where I can practice clinical medicine, perform research, and teach at an academic medical center. That is what I truly want to do. I don't want to be just a doctor. I want to be someone who is looking for cures, teaching future doctors, and helping patients have better lives. I'm kicking myself in the head because I should have went with my instinct when I first applied to medical school. I should not have let others convince me otherwise because I only applied to MD programs when I should have applied to at least some MD/PhD programs. I guess that there is always next year.

Right now, I have three interviews for a MD. I have one next week at Columbia, one the week after at Baylor, and the last in March at The Ohio State. We'll see if I get in or not. To be honest, I hope that I don't get in and I am already starting my applications again. My hope of not getting in is because I am not sure if I can get accepted into an MD program and then switch to an MD/PhD program. If I can, that would be ideal, especially if I got into Columbia or Baylor. If not, I have my back-up plans. My back-up plan is denying admittance or postponing matriculation for a year and then reapplying. I already applied for a post-baccalaureate program at the NIH for a year. I really hope that I get into the program because it will really boost my résumé. The I can apply to MD/PhD programs and see what happens. If I don't get accepted into and MD/PhD, I have my MD to fall back on at one of the three schools above (that is if I get accepted into their institution).

Anyways, those are my plans for right now. I am really loving life. I work 30-40 hours a week in my research lab and then I am still coaching Timpview swimming. We won Region a couple of weekends ago and we are going to make a run for state this coming weekend. I hope that we can win! I am also really excited to be in New York next week for my first interview (It's my first time in the Big Apple).

Second Interview

12 January 2010
On Sunday, I received another interview at Baylor for February 19th. I'm very excited about this one because I would like to go to Baylor more so than The Ohio State (the interview is on March 17th). I don't know if I will get in so I've started cementing my back up plans.

Currently, I am working on my primary medical school application again. This includes writing another personal statement and boosting my resume with more activities, research, service, leadership, shadowing, etc. This will hopefully make me stand out as a candidate. I am also working on an application to do a post-baccalaureate at the NIH (National Institute of Health) in Bethesda, MD (near Washington D.C.) this upcoming year. My research professor believes that I have a good chance of getting into their post-baccalaureate program since I have a lot of research experience and good grades. We will see what happens. If I do get into this program and by some miracle get into medical school too, I will postpone my matriculation to medical school and do my post-baccalaureate at the NIH. This might give me the chance to for sure decide if I want to only be a M.D. or a M.D./Ph.D. I've seriously been considering doing a M.D./Ph.D again and if I receive the post-baccalaureate, I will probably head the M.D./Ph.D route.

Anyways, there is a quick update on my life. It's good! :)


08 January 2010
I have the urge to blog, but I have no idea what to write.

Life is good though! :)