North Carolina State University is expanding not only in size but also in the number of student organizations. Recently, Maritza Adonis, a junior in political science decided to expand the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) to our campus where she is the founding president. Along with this group there are several other medical related organizations such as the Pre-Health Club.

The Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students, NCSU chapter, is an academic support group for pre-medical and other pre-health students preparing for professional school. MAPS is dedicated to serving students from medically underserved areas, disadvantaged backgrounds, students from ethnic or racial populations under-represented in health care and also for students who share in our commitment. All pre-health students are welcome to attend the meetings. MAPS membership has specific requirements that must be maintained each semester. Meetings are held twice a month with guest speakers. Community service projects and campus activities are held throughout the semester. Our chapter is a blend of diverse students sharing the same goal.

The mission of North Carolina State University’s Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students is to guide and assist minority Pre-Medical students in an exploration of professional healthcare careers by coordinating and implementing informational programs, providing helpful academic resources, and organizing volunteer opportunities. MAPS also strive to create awareness about healthcare disparities among minorities and work towards eradicating them. Adonis was asked to recap her vision on what was her driving factor in implementing such an organization.

Adonis recapped on her high school memories when she participated in many medical programs at the University of Miami. Most of the programs that Adonis attended were directly geared towards minorities. These programs opened her eyes to the vast amount of opportunities that was present for minorities in the medical field. This was the beginning of Adonis’vision to organize the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students. Her main goal was to “tailor to the needs of minorities in medicine” when she got N.C. State. Many of the students in MAPS said they first joined the Pre-Health club. They found the Pre-Health club to be helpful in obtaining knowledge; however, it wasn’t focused or centered on the needs of African-American and other minority groups here on campus. Adonis stated that the “Pre-Health club did a great job in connecting with medical service opportunities…it did not present me essential information about minority opportunities in medicine.” She also felt that she “would be doing a disservice to [her] peers by not sharing the information.” As the summer of 2008 rolled around she decided to establish an organization that would cater to the needs of minority students in the health field. After intense research, former student, Warren Perry, informed her of an organization on a national level called the Student National Medical Association. This organization had an undergraduate branch which was the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students. Adonis said that “after reading more about it, I decided not to reinvent the wheel but rather established a MAPS chapter” here.

Even though this was the vision of Adonis, she does not run this organization alone. She has an extensive executive board which is as followed: Anthony Kulukulualani, first co-president, John Campbell, second co-president, Destiny Wilson, vice president, Camia McCorkle, director of membership, Jessica G. Waters, chief secretary, Zainab Riyami, corresponding secretary, and Ivey Rice, treasurer. The MAPS organization is targeted towards all minority pre-health students including the areas of dentistry, podiatry, veterinary, pharmacy, physician assistant, and an array of others. All students from all majors and classification are welcomed to join if they are interested. This group is not closed to just those in the pre-health field. The MAPS organization has a diverse student membership from a wide range of classification, majors, and ethnicities.

The MAPS organization has gotten off to a wonderful and speedy start this school year. Adonis says that her goal is to “aid in the transition in the matriculation of minority students in the pre-health field.” She plans to do this by “providing medical service opportunities, exam prep, resume, and interview workshops” through the school year. All of the programs sponsored by MAPS are to help African Americans and all other minorities in the transition into the pre-health medical field. Not only does Adonis want to help in the advancement of the student body, she wants to build a support group for others not only an academically but socially as well. She says it’s “a lot easier to transition, when you know you have someone that looks like you.”