Profile- Claire Domogala

For this week’s profile, I decided to interview Claire Domogala, a great friend of mine. Claire is studying to be a physician’s assistant and is also very involved on campus.

 

What is it like to be in the PA Program here at Jefferson?

It’s definitely challenging, but also great because you meet people who have a similar mindset as you and make some of the best friends of your life. It’s also really nice to have the flexibility to minor in things like medical Spanish and childhood trauma and be able to study abroad. Also, after seeing some of my friends back home applying into graduate programs, it makes it even more rewarding to already have a spot and to be in a through-track program.

 

What are some of the organizations that you are a part of?

On campus, I am a part of Global Medical Brigades, Physician Assistant Society, Honors Student Association, Campus Activities Board, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Fencing Club (which just started this semester). I also work as an Office Assistant in the Academic Success Center and as a Chemistry Supplemental Instruction Tutor. I’ll talk a little more about a few of my favorites. Global Medical Brigades (GMB) is definitely my favorite organization. Each year, we fundraise for supplies and money and travel to the rural areas of a country that doesn’t have access to healthcare. This is my third year as a part of GMB and so far we have gone to Honduras twice and are going to Nicaragua this year. We set up a clinic which has intake, triage, consults, dental, OB/GYN, “charlas” or chats with the children, and a pharmacy and we work with patients to give them the medical treatment they deserve. It truly is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had and I learned so much and helped so many through it. Campus Activities Board (CAB) is a great way to get involved on campus and I served as the Diversity/Cultural Experience chair last year. It was exciting to plan events and meet new people. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is also an organization close to my heart because I’ve been working with them since high school. BBBS matches you with a “little” sibling who might be struggling at school or at home and you eat lunch with them once a week. It’s a wonderful way to be able to help connect with, and be a friend and mentor to, someone in need.     

 

What have been some of your favorite experiences here at PhilaU/Jefferson?

Without a doubt my favorite experiences have been GMB and studying abroad. But other than that, I love exploring Philadelphia with my friends, especially during restaurant weeks when I’ve had the best meals of my life. I really love being busy and going on adventures, whether it’s heading into center city or Manayunk, going out for a hike, or even just staying in to watch a movie or play some games.

In the fall, you studied abroad in Costa Rica. What was that like and what are some of your favorite moments from that?

This is a tough question because every second of my time abroad was incredible. It was a little bit difficult at first to adjust since our host families only spoke Spanish and it’s a completely different culture, but it was a really smooth transition and in no time, we were ready to explore. We did have classes during the week, but traveled out of San José to a different part of the country (or a different country) every weekend. Everywhere we went and everything we did was incredible, but some moments definitely stick out in my mind. For one, we were in San José watching the game in a bar when Costa Rica qualified for the world cup. It was an incredible celebration, like when the Eagles won the Super Bowl but 10 times larger and crazier. People threw beer, confetti, and were screaming and dancing and the whole city was out to celebrate. Another fantastic memory was when me friend Sam and I went on our third scuba diving trip to the Catalina Islands off the coast of Guanacaste. We had done 2 dives, including a reef dive and a shipwreck dive, before, and it was beautiful, but we hadn’t seen many animals. On the third dive, though, we saw octopus, a green sea turtle, and even sharks sleeping in a cave and swimming around. It was a truly incredible experience. One of my other favorite moments was a trip a group of us took to Nicaragua. There, we did a backpacking hike of the volano El Hoyo. It was a brutal climb—incredibly hot with unbearably heavy backpacks—but the view from the top was absolutely worth it. We camped and slept atop the summit of the volcano and climbed down the next day, stopping for a quick swim in a crater lake. Also, I really loved my last weekend. We took a trip to Monteverde and did all of the touristy things like zip lining and bungee jumping, then got the change to climb a Ficus tree that was famous with the locals but nearly unheard of and very difficult to find for tourists. We were able to climb up the middle of the hollow free using it as a natural ladder, and at the top, the view was breathtaking and you could see over the entire small town of Santa Elena. Those are just some of my favorite moments and memories, but truly everything about the trip was magical. I can’t wait to go back!