Organizing Bone Marrow Drive Helps Students Gain Valuable Experience

The Meredith Health Professions Society (MHPS) organized a successful bone marrow donor registry event this spring, giving students interested in working in healthcare an opportunity to gain experience in their future field.

The bone marrow drive inspired 108 people in the Meredith community to join the Be the Match registry of potential donors. The bone marrow drive was a student-driven effort, supported by their faculty advisor Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Karthik Aghoram.

Biology major Katti Caraballo, ’15, was the student leader for the bone marrow drive. She is proud of the effort of the MHPS team, which included several freshmen and sophomores.

“This was a great opportunity because we were able to carry out important duties and practice time management,” said Caraballo.  “I wanted to set a good example for [the underclassmen] in hopes that they would gain understanding of what leading a team is all about.”

The student team worked directly with a representative from Be the Match, promoting the event on social media, by making presentations in classes, connecting with student organizations at NC State, and creating flyers and other materials. The committee also coordinated fundraisers at local restaurants to support the project. The planning and promotion took more than a month.

Alexandra Kandah, ’18, said a major effort was made to dispel misconceptions about bone marrow donation.

“A lot of people didn’t know how easy it is to join the bone marrow registry,” Kandah said. “You just come and have a cheek swab. It’s easy and for a really good cause.”

Wachiraya “Amy” Poonnak, ’17, said she and her teammates were able to learn the best ways to talk about bone marrow donation from the Be the Match representative.

“We learned what people respond to, and how to answer their questions,” Poonak said. “It was a great way to gain volunteer experience.”

Taranjot Bajway, ’17, agreed that the bone marrow drive project was a good learning experience.

“It was a great way to take a leadership role in something that really matters,” said Bajwa. “We were able to interact with healthcare professionals and also learn how to educate others on a health issue.”

Managing this effort helped Caraballo sharpen her leadership skills.  

“Communication is key, as well as commitment. As a leader, I learned to delegate, which was difficult in the beginning because I tried to get a lot done on my own,” Caraballo explained. “Dr. Aghoram had to remind me ‘You have to delegate, don't do it all by yourself. This is why you have a team’.  I'm just so thankful to be part of a community that never fails to help others.” 

Melyssa Allen

News Director
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