Today we speak with Rebekah Feinberg, a senior who is a part of the 3+1 program with Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC), majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Law and Justice. We discuss her dedication as a student as well as her new role on the 3+1 team, assuming the position of Alumni Trustee on the Board of Trustees for the NJ County Colleges Council, and becoming project manager for the upcoming RCBC Science Slam.
What inspired you to pursue both Biological Sciences and Law and Justice?
In high school, I knew I wanted to go into medicine. Going into college, I knew I wanted my major to be something in the sciences, whether it was Biology or Chemistry. Typically with a traditional pathway, your major is Biological Sciences. So, that’s why I’m in the major I’m in right now.
I had declared my minor this year for Law. It was because last year, during a domestic violence event at RCBC that I spoke at, I actually met with Burlington County’s Prosecutor’s office, and they offered me an internship. I declined it because I had other things going on, but that really sparked my interest in Law and understanding how exactly Law and medicine are connected through healthcare policies, medical malpractice. So that’s why I have my minor — I figured it would definitely help me once I’m in a hospital to really give my patients more of a well-rounded form of care because I will be knowledgeable in a field that [they may not be] expecting.
Are you currently involved in any work or volunteer opportunities regarding your fields of interest?
Currently, I’m starting a 3+1 position. I will be working in the 3+1 offices at RCBC, and it will be the 3+1 Rowan team who is stationed at RCBC. I will be the office assistant and advisor to some of the students, mostly pre-medical. My duties are mainly to assist the advisors and the staff in the offices, whether that’s through certain projects or being passed down students that they feel I could give advice to.
Also, I am assuming the position of Alumni Trustee on the NJCC (New Jersey County Colleges Council). That was a peer nomination by the Director of Marketing from RCBC, Greg Volpe. He peer nominated me since I was Alumni Trustee on RCBC’s Board of Trustees and I had fulfilled my term for the year. So, in that position, it’s voluntary and I can continue to advocate for the betterment of the student body at a state level instead of at a county level. We bring up student concerns from our campuses as well as discuss financial budgeting issues, such as more grant funding for research or for incoming freshmen. It’s more of, how can we help our students get an education if for some reason they’re financially not stable enough to?
I currently just assumed the position of project manager for the Science Slam, which is run by the RCBC STEM department. I am working directly with the associate dean of STEM — her name is Dr. Tiffani Worthy, and together we are recreating the essence of the Science Slam that RCBC has now done for the past three years. This event used to be marketed towards elementary/middle school kids to get them interested in the sciences and show them that, regardless of your gender, your race or your ethnicity, you can pursue a career in science, and it’s fun.
This year Dr. Worthy and I are looking to market a broader community, so we’re not only going to involve elementary school and middle school, we’re going to include high school students as well as our own college students. It’s going to be a very big event. We’re going to have experiments for the kids, advising will be there, 3+1 will be there, and it’s going to be a very market-friendly event to promote not only science, but for pursuing either RCBC or Rowan. It will probably be some time in early April.
How has the Rowan 3+1 program shaped your experience both as a student and now as a member of the advising team?
As a student, going into the program I had absolutely no idea what it was. I found out about the program by sitting on one of the park benches that had 3+1 advertised on it, which is really ironic. But, going into the program, it has opened up so many doors and opportunities to not only advance my undergraduate career but also propel me into a successful post-grad career, whether that’s through connections or through the experiences I was able to gain. The entire program has just made me a better student in my opinion. If I was not a part of the program I don’t think I would have excelled to the extent I have.
Through this program, I was able to stay on with Service-Learning Scholars, which is a volunteering program at RCBC. I was able to stay with them for three years instead of two, which also allowed me to implement a Little Free Library on our campus. I was able to work at our food pantry 2 ½ years, I was able to just do a lot for long periods of times that I just wouldn’t have been able to do if I stayed there for only two years. Since I haven’t started the office position yet, I can’t really say how it’s going to shape me, but I can predict that it’s going to be very satisfying helping my peers in that role.
What inspired you to join the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey County Colleges Council?
After completing my term with RCBC’s Board of Trustees as Alumni Trustee, it was a year term, and coming out of it I really enjoyed seeing how the policies of the college are not only implemented but created, and how exactly that impacts the students. I thought it was really important to maintain having my voice at that level as a student perspective. So, I didn’t even know it was a thing, and then when I was peer nominated and informed of it, I immediately took the position just because now I’m volunteering at a state level to advocate for the students, and I will always advocate for the betterment of the students.
I’m not that type of person where if I see something that’s wrong or can be done better I just look the other way — I want to fix it and really just try to make everything inclusive and equal. I want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity and are equally heard.
Do you have any plans to continue your education? If so, what are they?
Yes, I do have plans to continue my education. Currently, I am going through the application process for medical schools. I applied to both M.D. schools and D.O. schools — M.D. is allopathic and D.O. is osteopathic, there are two pathways of medicine. So, I am currently going through the process, which is primary application, secondary application, interviews and then acceptances. Of course, within those points of contact you can get rejected.
I essentially would like to be a cardiovascular surgeon, which is why pursuing medical school is necessary. If I don’t get into medical school this cycle, I plan to then pursue a master’s program in the interim year between now and having to reapply. The master’s program I will be pursuing will most likely be a highly specialized one, whether that’s medical anatomy or medical physiology. Something that will showcase that I am dedicated to medicine.
In medical school, if I get in, I will be pursuing a dual degree program. So it’s either going to be M.D. or D.O. for the medical degree, then I am also looking at getting an MPH, an MBA, or a JD. So, for the MPH (Master of Public Health,) that will help me because as you age in the medical field, there will come a point in your career where you can’t perform surgeries because your dexterity and visual acuity declines. So in order to save myself in the future so I can still work in a hospital, the MPH will allow me to assume an administrative position. If I pursue the joint MBA, it will help me if I want to open up my own practice, because there’s a business side to that. The JD is actually a law degree, so I would be a doctor and a lawyer, but I would probably specialize in medical malpractice so it is still connected to healthcare. I just haven’t decide which one I actually want to pursue yet.
How has your experience with Rowan shaped where you are now and what you wish to pursue?
My experience with Rowan through the 3+1 program has shaped me to be a student who strives to do more than the bare minimum. I’m consistently trying to go above and beyond to not only meet the basic requirements, but to exceed past those and just really develop myself and my career. RCBC and Rowan University have given me the opportunity and the support to do so.
I plan to become a surgeon so having that level of support at the position I’m in right now as an undergraduate is something I appreciate, because some people don’t have that support.
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