Student Spotlight: Jennifer Barquin
Hi! My name is Jennifer Barquin and I am a junior in the Bachelor of General Health Science program on the pre-medical track. I always knew I had a passion for working in the medical field, but with so many options available, I was never truly certain in what I wanted to do. I first came into the University of Florida as a pharmacy major, but after volunteering at the pharmacy in Shands’ Medical Plaza, I realized I wanted more hands-on, personal patient experiences. After switching my major from pharmacy to pre-medicine, I was still feeling unsure of my decision. It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to shadow Dr. Kevin Behrns, a surgical oncologist at Shands Hospital that I realized I had found my passion.
Last semester, I applied and was thankfully accepted into the BHS Honors Program. Through this program, I met my Honors thesis mentor Dr. Barbara Smith, who works in the department of Physical Therapy. The research I am involved in with Dr. Smith entails analyzing the diaphragm and overall respiratory weakness in patients with neuromuscular diseases, such as Pompe Disease. Along with this research, I volunteer in the Child Life Program at Shand’s Medical Plaza. This program is geared towards normalizing the environment and eliminating the negative connotation children have in association to doctors’ offices. I have always aspired to help and work with children. There is something about their resilience to all of life’s obstacles that motivates me to continue striving towards my goal in becoming a pediatric doctor.
When I am not volunteering or doing research, I spend time planning events for the American Medical Student Association, also known as AMSA. As an events director, my fellow co-directors and I are responsible for integrating all of the members in the organization from general body members to the director and executive board members. We do this through the establishment of a mentor-mentee program and hosting several interactive social events throughout the semester, such as tailgates for the Gator football games.
In my free time, I enjoy visiting my family back home in Miami as well as exploring the city of Gainesville with my best friends. One of my interests includes the performing arts. I was a dancer from age 3 till my freshmen year of college. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find time to continue dancing these past 2 years, but when I go home to Miami I like to visit the dance studio I grew up in and take some classes. Along with dancing, I love to travel. Some of my favorite places include Paris, Madrid, and Mont Saint-Michel. I am exceptionally grateful for the University of Florida and all the incredible opportunities that I have been given. As always, Go Gators!