Summer Edition: A Focus on Healthcare

Coaches Corner

The Importance of Health Careers and STEM
By Derek Washington,
Senior ACE Coach,
Trainer, and
Program Manager

Obtaining a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education allows preparation to succeed in your career goals. The skills gained from a STEM education teach far beyond the standard concepts of science and mathematics. The cornerstone of hands-on learning with real-world applications helps guide and develop creativity, a much-needed skill set for the 21st century. Employers are scouting for laborers capable of problem-solving, creative thinking, decision-making, leadership skills, and acceptance of the success and failure of blueprints. Having these qualifications produces ACE Scholars with the power to be innovative for the world’s economic growth.
The ability to think critically and call into question standard processes is the foundation of STEM and becoming an innovator. Employment in STEM range from Cyber Security (median salary- $103,590), Nurse Practitioner (median salary, $111,680), Medical and Health Service Manager (median salary- $104,280),
Software Developer (median salary- $110,140), Data Scientist (median salary- $98,230), Dentist (median salary- $158,940), and Psychologist (median salary- $105,780) just to name a few industries that are seeking pioneers for continuous growth within the STEM workforce. These occupations are expected to grow 8.8% by 2028, while non-STEM occupations will only grow 5%. The current job openings in the STEM field will require postsecondary education and beyond. ACE (Accelerated College Experiences) offers the pathway for students beyond the standard classroom to utilize the skills necessary to obtain a great STEM career. ACE’s foundation is aligned with Stem’s core abilities which are- Self Direct, SelfMange, Self-Correction, and Self-Advocate, as the methodology and foundation for guiding and coaching students. The ACE organization has witnessed ACE Scholars achieve careers in Health and STEM. Enrolled students get the necessary support and guidance to partake in rigorous academic courses for their career pathway. The staff here at ACE are excited to introduce three ACE Scholars in this month’s Summer Newsletter with successful careers in health sciences. We are excited for their fruitful and bright future within the Health and STEM industry.
Best STEM Jobs (
YETI Academy (

ACE Spotlights

Khadijah Rifai
UMass Boston, Biology, 2018
Mass College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (MCPHS, Doctor of
Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), 2022.

I recently graduated from MCPHS with a Doctorate in Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), and I am sharing my experience with others who may be pursuing a career in Pharmacy. What led me to my academic success was my support system. I had support from my family, friends, coworker, and programs I was part of, such as ACE. Yes, in retrospect, if I could go back, there are things I would have done differently, but I don’t like to think of it like that because everything happens for a reason, and the most important thing is that I made it. The other thing that led to my success was my motivation. When school got tough, I had to remain motivated and remind myself of my goals and why I was doing this in the first place.
I had an ACE Coach when I was an undergraduate at UMass Boston. My ACE Coach, Sherryann, knew I was interested in Pharmacy, and she supported me throughout my undergraduate studies. She was someone I talked to about school all the time. She helped guide me on who to speak to and what to do if I wasn’t doing well in a class or exam. We talked about study habits and time management. She gave me
tips for success, and she always told me not to give up and believed in me. She had a positive eaect on my studies. I think that when the ACE Coaches know that a student is motivated, they will go above and beyond to support them. Furthermore, I was able to apply the things I learned and practiced as an undergraduate to my graduate studies.
I would advise students wanting to pursue Pharmacy to figure out what they want as soon as possible because it will help them during their career. I would say to work as an intern while in school to figure out what path they want to follow after graduation. I recommend consistently studying before the exam to avoid falling behind; the curriculum is intense and requires a vigorous amount of challenging work and time. Finally, I would say to work hard and put in all your effort because it will be over before you know it, and it will be worth it. More importantly, regardless of the outcome, you can look back and say “I tried” at the end of the day.

Oulaya Laouddi
3rd Year Nursing Student
University of Pennsylvania

Keys for Success

My name is Oulaya Louaddi, and I am a rising junior in nursing school at the University of Pennsylvania. As a master procrastinator and lover of spending money on food, clothes, collectibles, and everything else, it’s safe to say it has been a trying two years of Uinding balance. That said, I made it through these two years and am blessed to be on track for my program. However, I know that not everyone can be so lucky. I hope through this blog, I can oaer some insight into the lessons I’ve learned as a quick beginner’s guide to surviving the Uirst two “weed-out” years of nursing school as well as college in general.
1: Accept the nursing/health sciences path is different from other majors
Before committing to Penn, I interviewed for admission to Emory University’s nursing program. I got a ride to Boston Medical Center, where a head neurologist interviewed me. The interview was very casual as he asked me questions about what I was looking forward to in college and my future goals and hopes. However, what he told me at the end was something I doubted and did not really understand at Uirst until I experienced nursing school for myself.
“One advice I will give you is to know that your college experience will be very different from your peers in other schools and majors. Students in health science majors have intense workloads that other students cannot begin to understand. You will need to spend many more hours in front of the books and in libraries than your other friends. You will need to learn to limit partying or social events to make more time for your work. Breaking even with your grades will cost you more than others.”
At first, I chalked his advice up to being a little dramatic and maybe only valid for pre-med or medical students. It wasn’t until I began taking challenging nursing courses like anatomy and physiology, or pharmacology and pathophysiology, that I learned getting good grades meant heeding his advice. Even with only one student organization leadership position and very little else in my life, battling bad procrastination habits with the truly insane workload of these classes was enough to take up all of my time. This leads me to my next point.
2: Choose your opportunities wisely
I first learned this lesson after getting antsy and anxious in my freshman year that I wasn’t doing as much as my peers and wasn’t being ambitious enough. Towards the end of my freshman year, I applied to a world house fellowship thinking it would give me an edge in terms of global health experience. This university-wide fellowship program also took field trips to NY and DC, which I was excited about. However, a semester into the program in my sophomore year, I realized the program did not align well with my goals. It had too much of a political science focus with hardly any health-related speakers or events. I found that I was wasting energy and time that could be spent on my classes. Having never quit anything in my life, I found it very difficult to convince myself that I needed to step back, but ultimately, that is what I needed. The experience taught me a valuable lesson. I need to wisely choose how to spend my time and walk away from opportunities that do not feel 100% right for me. I put this to the test before the summer break as I chose what I wanted to pursue for the summer. I ended up stepping away from a
mentorship program because the compensation did not match the amount of work that would be resting on my shoulders. We as students are valuable resources and hard workers; don’t let offices and organizations take advantage of us without proper compensation.
Similarly, this applies to working during the semester. I highly suggest only working student jobs through your university like library jobs or even research jobs if you want something more meaningful. These jobs tend to be much more understanding of student schedules and workloads. Working a full-time job is not feasible since being a successful college student already requires you to dedicate several hours to studying. Being a nursing student means spending even more hours on your work. Research jobs tend to be great resume additions while having good pay and flexible hours. Opt for these instead of part-time or full-time jobs that do not contribute to your long-term goals.
3: Take advantage of having an ACE coach
I did not know or appreciate the value of having an ACE coach until my sophomore year started. My freshman year was all virtual; in many ways, my sophomore year was when I felt like I began adjusting to college life and courses. Going through my course progress with my ACE coach consistently helped me keep track of what was coming up but also allowed me to look back and appreciate my successes. It can be easy to be caught up in what is coming and forget to acknowledge your hard work, but meeting with my coach allowed me to take a minute to consider this. On top of this, your ACE coach undeniably has more life experience than you. They can be great resources for navigating professionalism in your school and professional endeavors. Ask for advice and tips, no matter how small you think it may be. Take advantage of having this experienced guide as a resource in your corner. In summary, the keyword to making it through the first two years of nursing school—and I’m sure the next two—is: balance. College years open you up to be eligible for millions of scholarships, work, internships, and leadership opportunities on top of a new social environment. It is very easy to take on more than you can handle, especially as a nursing student. Practice finding balance and communicate with your ACE coach as they can be instrumental in guiding you through this process like mine did for me (Shoutout to Lorita!) I serve as a mentor through different organizations, so feel free to contact me via email ( with any questions or if you want to start a mentorship!

Nancy Tran
2nd Year Nursing Student
Simmons University

My name is Nancy Tran, and I am a rising junior at Simmons University, and I am currently enrolled in an eight-semester nursing program. This challenging program generally educates students with the information, skills, and practices necessary to promote health and provide care for people in need. It is undoubtedly difficult; I had a lot of difficulty during the fall semester of 2021. Anatomy and Physiology II, Nursing Theory and Evidence-Based Practices, Nursing Fundamental Skills and Assessment, and Psychology LifeSpan and Development were among the four demanding classes I had to take. Not only that, but I also made the decision to take on more by working two extra jobs while I was in school. Consequently, I had less time to study, and I wasn’t as concentrated as I should have been. Even though I believed I could succeed, my exam results proved otherwise, particularly in my Nursing Fundamental Skills and Assessment class.
I realized before the conclusion of the fall semester that I would fail this class, which would ultimately set me back a semester. When I contacted my academic advisor, she told me I could either switch my major or try again. Speaking to her made me question my commitment to being a nurse, even though I knew I had it in me. I was devastated and did not know how to tell this information to my parents. But when I asked Lorita for assistance, she reassured me that failing was okay and advised me to use it as a learning experience going forward. She gave me the encouragement I needed and strengthened my determination and commitment to see this program through.
I had to enroll in a few electives during the spring semester of 2022 to avoid falling too far behind in the nursing program. I knew this would be a test to determine if I could handle it. At the beginning of the spring semester, I ultimately decided to leave both of my jobs, which was quite helpful! With the support of my Ace Coach, Lorita, I was more motivated to perform well in these classes and focused on doing well. As a result, I managed to earn all As for the semester. I am really appreciative of my success and would like to thank Lorita and the Ace Program as a whole for guiding and supporting me. Now that I am back on track with the nursing program, I’m prepared to push myself even harder in the upcoming fall semester. I want to share my experience to reassure other students that failing a course is okay. If you are sure you want to pursue a particular career, especially in nursing, then get back up, identify what was making you struggle, and take the initiative on what you can do better next time! The four ACE pillars—Self-Direct, Self-Manage, Self-Correct, and Self-Advocate—will inspire you to work harder the next time and successfully assist you in achieving your goal!

Congratulations to our recent graduates! Congratulations to our recent graduates!

May 2022 Graduates

Kene Aniagboso-MA College of Pharmacy/Health Sciences: Pharmacy
Mateo Lopez-Northeastern University: Engineering
Mariana Q. Tapasco-Boston College: Psychology and Hispanic Studies
Patrick Aldolphus-Harvard University: Chemistry
Jennifer Alvarez Mendoza-Suaolk University: Computer Science
Ziuling Cheung He-Umass Amherst: Biology Veterinary Science
Salamata Jalloh-Washington College: Political Science
Janiel Lewis-Worcester State: Psychology
Amy Ly-Tufts University: Cognitive Brain Science
Alisha Shrestha-Suaolk University: Biology
Takyra Taylor-Suaolk University, Summa Cum Laude: Accounting and Global Business
Duy Tran-Boston College: Economics/Financial Management
Serena Rizzo-Simmons College: Exercise Science, Pursing Doctorate of Physical Science 2024
Yadira Cuevas-Cambridge College: Natural and Applied Sciences

December 2022 Graduates

Adriona King-Bunker Hill Community College: Visual Design
Nancy Ngyen-Umass Lowell: Nursing, Inducted into Sigma Theta Tao Nursing Honor Society

A special thank you to the following foundations for
their generous support;
Partners HealthCare Systems
Ilene Beal Foundation
Margaret Steward Lindsey Foundation
Elizabeth B. Kreske Charitable Foundation
Revere Cares
The Brittain Foundation
Northeastern University Honors Program
A very special thanks to the Cradle to Career Initiative for our
$15,000 grant!

There are so many more students who could benefit from
this Program but can’t afford it.
With your help – they can.

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