Student Spotlight: Serena Martin
Serena is a senior in the Bachelor of Health Science program on the General Health Science track. Next year, Serena will be attending medical school and continue her pursuit to practice pediatric medicine. Serena attributes her interest in pediatrics to many of the experiences she has had volunteering to help children in both nonclinical and clinical settings.
Serena has enjoyed volunteering to help children in the community. In the summer of 2013, Serena was a counselor at Florida Diabetes Camp. At the summer camp, Serena worked together with a nurse, pharmacy student, and another undergraduate student as a counselor of children ages six to eight years with type 1 diabetes. The counselors took turns being on-call and checking blood sugars at night. They administered insulin shots, managed blood sugar tests, and oversaw carbohydrate counting. They also consulted with the on-site endocrinologists about insulin-to-carb ratios. Serena was proud to teach her campers not only traditional camp activities like archery, but also fundamental lessons on learning how to handle type 1 diabetes confidently. After gaining a hands-on understanding of how type 1 diabetes is a lifestyle, Serena decided to pursue research on type 1 diabetes. Additionally, Serena has enjoyed her experiences volunteering to help children at Give Kids the World, TOPSoccer, and Balance 180.
Serena has dedicated herself to supporting pediatric patients at UF Health Shands Hospital. In the spring of 2014 she was a member of Dream Team, a student-run organization that serves pediatric patients in the Cardiac Intensive Unit. Serena especially enjoyed hosting bingo and movie nights for patients. Her experience in Dream Team allowed her to become more comfortable interacting with children, while she, in turn, provided a sense of comfort to the children in the unit. Since the summer of 2014, Serena has been taking part in another one of her most meaningful experiences, volunteering in the Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Unit with the Footprints Buddy & Support Program. For a few hours each week, she provides comfort to children in the playroom and in one-on-one hospital room settings. Outside of the unit, Serena assists Footprints with campus-wide bone marrow drives throughout the year as well as participates in UF Relay for Life and UF St. Baldrick’s events, which both fundraise for research and treatments for cancer. With the Footprints team, Serena also cooks meals at Ronald McDonald House, where some of the families of the unit’s patients stay.
Serena’s familiarity with assisting children both outside and within the clinical setting motivates her to study pediatric medicine. She looks forward to providing both the appropriate medical care and the correct dose of supportive care for her pediatric patients in the future.