Cancer research with Dr. Gutierrez gave Deep Patel hands-on lab experience as a freshman. As a sophomore he was already teaching younger students while he prepared for the MCAT.
When biology major Deep Patel first started doing research work under Dr. Linda S. Gutierrez as a freshman, the seniors in the lab group affectionately viewed the freshman Patel as “their baby.” Now a senior himself, Patel has become the mentor.
“After all the seniors left, Dr. Gutierrez looked at me to teach the incoming students in our lab and also continue our ongoing projects,” Patel said. “It gave me confidence that she could trust me even as a sophomore to run the lab.”
Patel gained real-world experience researching cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, and even co-authored a research abstract published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Says Dr. Gutierrrez: “I want my students to be able to think by themselves and be able to actually propose solutions and new ways for doing things. I’m a mentor, but I want my students to be mentors too.”
With support from Gutierrez and hands-on research experience, Patel has a head start on his future. “Right in my freshman year, Dr. Gutierrez started pounding into my head that I should start preparing for the (Medical College Admission Test). She said, ‘Start now. Here’s a few books you should look at,’ and that really helped out. I was able to study and stay focused much longer because of the fact I was thinking about them so early.,”
Patel, of Dallas, Pa., adds, “I actually just got my MCAT percentiles back last week, and I did well. The major thing you need to do well on them is confidence, and my experiences at Wilkes have filled my head with nothing but positive thoughts.”