Sundus Lateef
Hometown:
Morgantown, WV
Undergraduate Degree:
BS Biology, BA Chemistry

What made you want to get your MD degree at WVU? 

I picked WVU because of the sense of community that is here.  Early on in my undergraduate studies I had some mentors who were medical student and they helped me with my application and my studying for the MCAT.  I also was extensively involved in nutrition and foods research when I was an undergraduate here at WVU. My research mentors, Dr. Janet Tou and Dr. Vagner Benedito, were great sources of guidance and helped me through the medical school application process. Most importantly, West Virginia and WVU is my home. The scholarship I received from the university solidified that this was the best option for me. 

So far, what is your favorite part of the MD program? 

Right now I am enjoying that we have options for the summer between our first and second year.  I recently found out that I was accepted into WVU SOM’s Initiation to Research Opportunities (INTRO) Summer Program.  I will be working here in Morgantown and doing breast cancer research with Dr. Paul Lockman’s group.  I am excited that I can apply what I have learned in the classroom to my summer research.  It will bring insight into medicine and how novel research applies to clinical treatments.  

What made you want to become a doctor? 

My first inspiration in medicine was my mom. Watching her, a physician, interact with patients and members of the community inspired me to be an earnest worker and good listener. I also volunteered and did some research work in my undergraduate studies that solidified my interests in medicine and medical research.  Through medicine, I can become an expert in a field and help those who directly need my assistance.  I can translate complicated situations and develop solutions to help patients.  

How do you think your 3rd and 4th clinical years will be unique since you are part of the Morgantown Campus?

I am excited to stay in Morgantown.  I can continue with my research and keep being involved in university and community organizations.  I hope to become involved in tutoring next year and work with undergraduates and incoming medical students.  I want to be a positive influence on them.  

Any unique experiences before medical school?   

My sister, mother and I went on a literature-themed trip to Rome and Florence with faculty members from the WVU Department of English and College of Law.  We read the works of Shakespeare, Ovid and Dante and then we went to the places referenced in these works to gain a better understanding of them. It was a really memorable experience! 

Did the programs orientation week help you get to know your classmates, faculty/staff, and get you acquainted with Morgantown before classes officially started? 

Orientation Week was a lot of first experiences with professors and classmates. First meetings, first classes, first meals shared together. It was overwhelming and scary at times, but it helped prepare me for the challenges that were to come.  I made great bonds with my classmates. I think my favorite part of the week was at Adventure Camp with the faculty and the 3rd and 4th year students.  It was nice to sit down and talk with medical students about the fun things they enjoy outside of medicine. 

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about medical school? 

It is important to be flexible in the face of challenges. Take as many opportunities as you can that might give you an idea of what medical school is like.  My mentors in medicine, particularly Dr. Robert Tallaksen in Radiology at WVU, have helped me identify my strengths and passions. You need to go with what catches your interests, whether that is in medicine or another field!   

What activities help keep you a well-balanced medical student? 

My friends and family keep me balanced.  My younger sister Soofia helps keep me grounded, and we like to cook together, or watch movies and spend time with friends.  I also enjoy mentoring undergraduates and high school students, and volunteering at university events like the annual Science Bowl for high school students. It gives me something to do outside of medicine, and we all need a variety in our lives!  

So far, which wellness event has been your favorite?   

It is hard to pick just one.  Recently during Interprofessional Education Week we learned about different recipes for smoothies, trail mix and other healthy foods. This was fun because I love to cook and find new recipes with simple and delicious ingredients. 

What plans do you have for the summer between first and second year? 

I will be participating in the 9-week summer research program for first-year medical students (INTRO) and I will be working with Dr. Paul Lockman in the School of Pharmacy. During my summer research, I will interact with and learn from other students and attend research seminars. At the end of the summer, the students are inducted into WVU’s Van Liere Research Society, which helps to create a network of lifelong learners and researchers. 

What are your goals after graduating? 

I am open to different fields.  Right now I am considering Internal Medicine and Radiology, because these are fields that allow for innovations and research.  I know that I want to practice medicine in West Virginia.  This is my home and I want to give back to the state and the people who have shaped my personality and goals.  Working in this state is the best end goal for the education that I have received at West Virginia University.