Monthly Archives: June 2015

Meet the President: Nicole Rapkin (CAS ’16)

Meet the House President for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year in the interview below!

Nicole Rapkin (CAS ’16)

House President

Where are you originally from? How did you end up deciding to attend BU?


I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. After spending most of my life in a very small town, I knew I wanted to move to a big city. At the time, I intended to major in advertising, but I was interested in lots of other things as well. After looking at COM’s advertising program and seeing that if I chose to change my major (which I did), BU would have a strong program for whatever I decided to do. That’s when I knew BU was the perfect choice.


What are you hoping to do when you graduate next spring?


I am an International Relations major with a minor in Public Health, and I’m passionate about women’s health and women’s rights. I would like to combine these interests with my love for travel and spend a year or two doing field work abroad before pursuing a Master’s degree in either Global Health or Maternal and Child Health.


What has been one of your favorite memories of living in the HER House?


One of my favorite memories in the House was my first Senior Supper. We spent weeks preparing the decorations, personalized gifts, and an under-the-sea themed menu, but when the night of the dinner finally came, we could hardly get through the meal because the girls kept getting up to dance to Beyonce. I’m pretty sure most meals in the HER House go that way, and they’re all included in my favorite memories.


What has living in the HER House meant to you?


Living in the HER House has been so much more than a place to live. In addition to allowing me to pursue my degree, the support and love I receive from all the girls in the House has really allowed me to grow into myself, and I’ve loved being able to play a role in maintaining the House’s traditions for current and future HERlies.


What’s the greatest piece of advice you ever received?


Let people know when they’re appreciated. It’s always easy to let someone know when they’re doing something wrong, but taking time to acknowledge when someone says or does something nice can make a big impact.

Alumnae Spotlight – Luwam Ghidei


Luwam Ghidei

Year of Graduation: 2011
School: College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College

Luwam Ghidei (SAR 2011), soon to be Dr. Ghidei, is incredibly accomplished, yet quite unassuming. We checked in with Luwam, a fourth year medical student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, to learn about where she’s headed next.


Who are you? 

I’m a 25-year-old feminist living in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. I love mentoring students who come from similar backgrounds to mine. I spend my time outside of school running, chatting up old friends, traveling, and getting active in the community.


The year after you graduated, almost all of the new HER House residents found out about the House through you. How do you describe the HER House to others?

Wow, that is so exciting to hear. I remember I wasn’t even on our official “Public Relations” committee, but I was so in love with the concept of the HER House that I obviously couldn’t stop talking about it. I used to tell any women who would listen that I live in the coolest house on campus. It’s a wonderful way to meet passionate women and build a family within campus. Not to mention, the house happens to be a gorgeous, meticulously designed mansion in which you pay what seems like pennies to live in!


Why did you decide to become a Doctor?

I grew up with some pretty horrific experiences at the doctor’s office. I watched my mom’s chronic pain be discounted without even a single question at times. I also watched healthcare workers rely on stereotypes of African American women to misdiagnose my oldest sister as she devastatingly suffered from a serious illness. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, I never thought a career in medicine was within reach – I didn’t know anyone who had successfully navigated the system. Once I got to college and realized I had a unique passion for physiology and health, I loved the idea of using my education to serve and heal others. I did my best to join pre-medical organizations, attend medical conferences, and find mentors in the medical community who could encourage me while filling in the informational gaps.


What advice do you have for anyone who wants to go to medical school?

The entire process is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be many, many nights devoted to studying while it seems like everyone else is out having fun. But if you are truly passionate about becoming a doctor, it is definitely worth it! If I had to do medical school all over again, I would in a heart beat! It’s amazing how much trust patients have in you, and that trust will drive you to aspire to become the best physician you can possible be. If you want a faster track in the health care field -consider becoming a highly esteemed Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, CRNA, Pharmacist, etc. These professions make great money and go through substantially less schooling.


If you could change one thing about the medical school admission process, what would it be?

One thing I would change is the concept of secondary applications. I believe secondary essays were first established to help narrow the amount of candidates each institution wanted to interview. However, as time passed, medical schools started sending out secondary applications without even screening first. Keep in mind, each secondary costs about $60-$80 in addition to the primary application costs. It’s hard to argue that schools are not only sending these out to generate more revenue.


What are you most looking forward to as you start your residency?

I am currently a fourth (and final) year medical student, and I am excited to report I successfully “matched” into a residency position! Match Day is an annual, nation-wide event during the 3rd week of March when every medical student finds out where they will do their residency. I will train to become an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Brown Women and Infant’s Hospital in Rhode Island! The first year of residency is referred to as an internship. I am looking forward to a sharp learning curve, a new experience, and gaining more confidence as I become more and more independent in my practice.

 We wish you all the best in your residency, Luwam! 

Remember When…You Studied Abroad?

This semester, there a few current House members studying abroad everywhere from within the US to Europe! From Venice, Italy to Paris, France, Shannon Chapman, Sophia Michael, and Romina Berberi reflect on their times abroad below:


Shannon Chapman:
I studied in Venice, Italy for spring 2014. I learned Italian and took an
amazing art history course that was held on-site. As a painting major, Italy was an incredible
place to study. I went to Florence and Rome as well. Aside from art and school, I enjoyed getting
to know my neighbor, Margherita. She is a wonderful lady that even taught me how to make a
pastry! Overall, I couldn’t be more thankful to have spent four months in Europe.


Sophia Michael:
As an art student, there are few places that would be a better fit to study in than Venice, Italy.
Venice is a truly magical place to live for an extended period of time. You have to dig down
deep to get to the cultural heart of the touristic city, and being given the time and opportunity to
do just that was priceless. Within a few weeks I had Italian friends, could communicate in a
foreign language (with gestures), and had seen more world-renown art than I could have ever
imagined. I met an amazing range of artists and individuals from around the world and wandered
the ever-winding streets. Being an international city, Venice allowed me I learn so much about
international identity and a variety of cultures, but leaving the country helped me gain even
wider perspectives.


One of my most memorable trips was during my spring break in France. I traveled with two
friends on a bit of a whirlwind adventure. We tasted the cheese, saw the real life scenes of
Cezanne’s paintings, walked through the gardens of Versailles and spent a full 12-hour day at the
Louvre. I could not have asked for more.

But as the final days of our program approached I realized I was not prepared to leave. I decided
to extend my stay an additional 10 weeks after the program ended. With this time I moved into
an apartment with a collective of artists and helped organize gallery events and performances in
our living space. I was also granted the opportunity to study glassblowing at a production furnace
in Murano (an island famous for their glassworks). There I saw, and sometimes worked on, a
number of projects for international artists, learned from glass masters who had been practicing
for fifty years, and picked up a little Muranese (a language apart from standard Italian). The rest
of my time was spent working with the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica di Venezia as an
assistant in their printmaking studio. At the Scuola I was able to work even more closely with
artists and create my own prints.

My experiences abroad ultimately ended, but my connections never will. Living with Italians in
the summer I learned the meaning of “sagra”and that dinner is never before nine, that we don’t
actually need dryers and that life is meant to be enjoyed by the minute, not by the day. I found
that I still practice some of these aspects of an Italian lifestyle, and sometimes a foreign word or
two will slip out before the English, and I hope that it continues. I think that it always will.

 Romina Berberi:

I recently read an article about the “Paris Syndrome,” which describes a profound sensation of disappointment and depression that results from the dirty, bitter, unwelcoming and far-from-romantic ambiance Paris-loving tourists encounter when they finally visit this immensely coveted city. In truth, it’s not nearly as sweet and warm-in-your-insides inducing as the media has indicated.

Despite the effortless splendor of this city’s structure, architecture, gastronomy and inhabitants, the ambiance is overwhelmingly one of coldness and unbelonging. I’ve gone through the entire spectrum at what marks nearly three months spent studying abroad in Paris. I go to school with Parisian students and live with a Parisian family and am charmed by the raw, flawed, and multi-faceted elements of these forever mysterious people. I’ve stopped smiling as much to strangers in public (what they deem the number one indicator of an American) and scowl on the Metro. I sip my red wine with a multi-course dinner and traverse the bridges over the Seine multiple times a day – all the while trying to conceal my giddiness at the beauty of it all from the stone-faced locals.

I’m expanding my knowledge and appreciation for art with Orsay and the Louvre just at my front stoop, perfecting my French vocabulary, accent, and expression, and refining my palate with incredible flaky pastries and duck dishes. Aside from taking courses in Paris’ highly esteemed business and economics university, Dauphine, I’m also working part time as an intern at an all-French nonprofit organization called Prométhée Humanitaire where I assist in event and marketing endeavors. It’s a privilege to be as fully immersed in this culture as I am. I’m having an amazing time integrating myself to the Parisian life and am growing in major ways. This HERlie is conquering Paris.