Incoming Rutgers–Camden Student Inspired to Serve through Medicine

By Sam Starnes

Before Priyal Shah started her senior year of high school, she began volunteering with an EMS squad near her home in Edison, N.J. “I enjoyed the patient-care experience and helping patients in need,” says Shah, who was certified as an EMT and worked four hours a week for the Woodbridge Township Ambulance and Rescue Squad during her senior year. “It was really inspiring for me.”

A 2020 graduate of Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences, Shah this fall will begin pursuing her dream of becoming a physician. She is double-majoring in biology and psychology in Rutgers University–Camden’s joint B.S./D.O. program, a seven-year track in partnership with the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. “I’m excited about my future there because there are so many opportunities that are offered and they are on so many different platforms,” she says. “I will be able to navigate through what I like and what I enjoy.”

She says she was drawn to Rutgers–Camden for the university’s numerous opportunities to do research with professors as an undergraduate. “Working one-on-one in a small-knit community is what I really like,” she says.

Another draw for her is the university’s commitment to service-oriented projects for which she can volunteer. “There are many leadership opportunities at Rutgers–Camden,” she says. “Having all those opportunities in one place while being close to home is really great.”

The public service aspect aligns with her goals of helping people. “I want to help as many people as I can,” she says. “Being successful in a career is great, but a lot of people fail to notice a bigger purpose in life. It’s not about your success or your money, but it’s about what you do with that money and success.”

Although Shah will begin this fall semester in remote learning classes, she is motivated to connect with her fellow students and professors through a spirit of “collaboration, cooperation, and compassion” and overcome not being there in-person. “These are hard times,” she says. “People are going through a lot of things. It’s hard to be in school by yourself. Usually you are surrounded by people, but I want to show compassion to others and that I’m there for them.”

Inspired by treatment she received when she dislocated a knee doing karate when she was in middle school, Shah’s long-term goal is to become a sports medicine physician.

In addition to learning about about science and medicine, Shah enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and painting. Her older brother, Sapan, is a senior business major at Rutgers–New Brunswick.


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