With thousands of applicants annually to Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Ma, a Vincentian student has been very fortunate to be among the elite group that has been accepted to the prestigious institution, considered to be the top medical school in the world.
Tiffany Minors, 22, who was born in Brooklyn to Cheryl Gibson-Minors and Sylvanus “Sus” Minors, is one of 150 students to be accepted to Harvard’s medical program, which she plans to start on Aug. 1.
“I believe I got into Harvard Med for a couple of reasons,” Tiffany told Caribbean Life over the weekend. “First and foremost, I believe God has a special plan for my life, so all the glory should go to Him.
“Secondly, I think it was obvious from my application that I had an underlying driving force in everything I was doing, which had to do with my faith,” added the Born-Again Christian. “In all my extracurricular activities – be it working at the homeless shelter, leading the Social Action team for Harvard College Faith and Action, tutoring inner-city kids, musically directing Harvard’s Christian A Cappella group, going on missions trips, or attempting to find cures for certain viruses – I was working towards the goal of loving people well and using my talents to do so.
“Thirdly, I believe my heritage was a big factor in my acceptance,” continued Tiffany, who graduated in May from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, with honors. “I spoke in my interviews about being a first generation American and identifying with my Vincentian culture. I explained how I was interested in Global Health, partly because I would love to impact St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ local hospitals in the future.”
Besides Harvard, Tiffany, who said she is “driven by her faith in Jesus Christ and deep love for others,” was also accepted to two other Ivy League medical schools – the University of Pennsylvania (U-Penn) and Columbia University.
In addition, she was offered a full scholarship to Hofstra Medical School in Long Island. The Award Letter from Hofstra cited her ability to be “a leader” of the school as it moves forward.
In her undergraduate study at Harvard College, Tiffany co-synthesized, with another Harvard student, novel NS3 Protease Inhibitor for dengue fever.
They presented their findings to the Medicinal Chemistry sector of the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Convention. Clinical trials are expected to begin later to produce a dengue vaccine.
Tiffany said she was “blessed with many opportunities to do research while at college,” stating that she worked for Dr. Lecia Sequist, Chief Pulmonary Oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, on an EGFR mutant third generation drug, in which she analyzed the side effect of hyperglycemia in patients not previously known to have diabetes.
She said she and her Harvard College lab partner presented their work to ACS around the design and synthesis of an unsaturated oximinoamide, which will act as a tighter binding NS3 protease inhibitor, and is now featured in SciFinder, ACS’s online database, as a novel inhibitor of the dengue virus’ NS3 serine protease.
Tiffany also shadowed Dr. Louis J. Auguste, a surgical oncologist at Long Island Jewish Hospital, during her second summer break from Harvard College.
At Harvard College, Tiffany led the Social Action Team, Faith and Action, to meet the needs of Boston’s [Massachusetts] impoverished community. She also volunteered at other hospitals, food banks, homeless shelters and prisons; was the co-musical director of Harvard’s Christian A Cappella Group; and tutored underprivileged children in Boston’s “inner city,” Roxbury.
“I feel incredibly blessed,” said Tiffany, when asked about her studies at Harvard College. “The path was definitely difficult – many late nights and long exams – but rewarding.
“I got to interact with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and learned from the greatest minds in their respective fields,” she added. “I enjoyed doing research and being involved in the pre-Med community, while also not allowing it to define my existence.”
Tiffany said she was unsure what she will specialize in during medical school, but added that she had done “a bit of work in oncology and love the longstanding patient interaction that comes with the field.
“I am waiting to experience all the other specialties and choose then,” said Tiffany, who went on mission trips to Colombia and Texas to both share her faith and assist the needy.
She was asked to deliver the keynote address at her first elementary school, Public School (PS) 312 in Brooklyn at its June 24, 2016 graduation ceremony (5th grade).