Student: Arvind Rajan | Beaufort County Now | Arvind Rajan’s long-term goal is to practice medicine, but he’s also launched a podcast, created a CPR app and made movies while at East Carolina University.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Crystal Baity.

Photos: Rhett Butler
    Arvind Rajan's long-term goal is to practice medicine, but he's also launched a podcast, created a CPR app and made movies while at East Carolina University.

    The 21-year-old biochemistry and chemistry major will graduate May 7 before entering ECU's master's in public health program. After completing the accelerated program, he hopes to attend medical school.

    As an undergraduate, Rajan and his best friend Tyler Owens founded the Pre-Surgical Society for students who are fascinated by the hands-on aspects of medicine. "We hosted numerous suture clinics ranging from doing surgery on bananas to chicken breasts," he said. "We were also able to organize interactive and informative sessions on the intricacies of medicine through bioethical debates or medical case studies by health professionals."

Arvind Rajan will earn degrees in biochemistry and chemistry on May 7.
    While in-person events have been suspended because of the pandemic, Rajan said he hopes to offer a suture clinic with middle schoolers in the future. "I think hands-on learning is the most powerful avenue to inspire children, and by teaching them basic suture technique on a practice pad, we can plant the seed of motivation in these children to explore medicine as a career in the future," he said.

    Rajan decided to become a doctor after shadowing a surgeon, who was treating a patient with a foot ulcer from diabetes, several years ago in India. "Patient after patient would have the same condition, and only a few of them ultimately were able to regain their afflicted extremity," he said.

    He has seen the same as a volunteer emergency medical technician. "I quickly discovered how rampant and untreated diabetes and heart disease are in this area and was surprised by the parallels I saw between rural south India and rural eastern North Carolina," he said.

    Rajan also worked in Southeast Asia while studying abroad at the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology in Malaysia. He volunteered at a camp assisting medical students performing blood glucose exams and vision screenings.

    He has explored ways to make aid more accessible through ECU's Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. "My team and I created CPRonDemand, a mobile application that teaches a lay person how to perform CPR utilizing the sensors within a smartphone to give active feedback while practicing," he said. "Working on this project also showed me that medicine and technology are increasingly interconnected, and I am excited to blend my passions for both in my future career as a physician."

    Last year, Arvind launched a podcast and YouTube channel that explores issues related to medicine and the COVID-19 pandemic. "I think that the best way to understand someone is to hear their stories, and on the podcast we hear from emergency medicine physicians, ICU nurses, international doctors, researchers and more about their anecdotes in medicine," he said.

    He also has participated each year in ECU's Campus Movie Fest, tapping his interest in filmmaking and videography.

    Rajan has gotten involved in the community through Alpha Epsilon Delta, the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society. Rajan and other members have tutored elementary students in science and math, judged science fairs and the annual Science Olympiad, and organized donation drives to ensure children have their own calculators. He's also worked with senior citizens in nursing homes and cancer patients.

    "Seeing a child's eyes light up when they are fascinated by something is the most rewarding feeling and has encouraged me to explore pediatrics as a future career goal," Rajan said.

    As an EC Scholar in the Honors College, Rajan said ECU not only offered a prestigious scholarship but all the opportunities he needed to pursue his goals. "I was met with very supportive faculty who did everything they could to help me achieve things I didn't even necessarily know I wanted to pursue," he said.

    What advice do you have for other students?: Don't let your college major define you! College is a time to explore all kinds of different opportunities — I was a biochem major and I enjoy science, but I was also able to get into film, 3D printing (at the Innovation Design Lab on campus), glassblowing, among other things — the sky truly is the limit.

    What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? I love technology and I wish I knew how much technology comes with your tuition! You have full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Premiere, etc.), you can borrow digital single-lens reflex cameras, GoPros, microphones and more from Joyner and use their high-performance computers for anything. Digital creation is the future and it's awesome that ECU offers opportunities to explore it.
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