“He said that when I was a little kid, I always loved learning about science,” Shergill said. “He encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.”

As a first-generation college student in the United States, Shergill is determined to make the most out of her IUPUI experience. She is building the foundations of her dream as a neuroscience and biology major.

Through on-campus involvement, Shergill has continued to demonstrate her desire to foster preparation for medical school. During the fall 2023 semester, Shergill worked as a teaching assistant for professor of biology Kathleen Marrs. The role aimed at ensuring smooth experiment operations for first-year students in Biology-K 101.

To start building her professional resume for medical school, Shergill obtained her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license in 2022. Through her role as a CNA, Shergill attended to geriatric patients and spotted abnormalities in vitals, which helped patients get correct treatments in a timely manner. Shergill’s experience as a CNA gave her the necessary exposure to the medical world.

Meeting the research requirements of the pre-med track has not been easy, but Shergill has risen to the challenge. As a freshman, Shergill applied for the Life-Health Sciences Internship Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine with the help of her PREPs advisor, Jaime Sperandio, the director of Pre-Professional and Career Preparation. Sperandio guided Shergill through the internship application process and conducted mock interviews.

Currently, Shergill aids anterior cruciate ligament research at the IU School of Medicine.

“It’s a learning experience. I’ve been able to network with medical students and build those connections,” Shergill said. “I’ve developed a lot of transferrable skills and learned how to advance myself.”

Now as she approaches her junior year, Shergill and her mentor, Stephen Schlecht, Ph.D., M.Sc., and assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, have been approved to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. The program subsequently provides funding for Shergill’s and her mentor’s anterior cruciate ligament research project.

The assistance from honors advisors has helped me improve myself academically and personally.