Dr. Daniel Chandra, Cohort 2004 B

Tell us the story about how you came to Reach for Excellence…

I heard about the program through my middle school guidance counselor and was inspired to join by my teachers, who advocated the importance of my high school experience in eventually achieving admission into college.

Tell us a little about your family…

Both of my parents immigrated from Indonesia. I was lucky to have extremely supportive parents who did not pressure me about my grades but instead encouraged me to explore my interests.

What memories from the program stand out to you and why?

I will always remember Dr. Gitonga’s math classes. I fell in love with the subject during those summers and knew that math and science would be a path I would pursue through college and beyond.

What did you learn in Reach for Excellence that has stayed with you?

I learned to love the experience of learning, and to this day, as a physician, I am proud to be in a profession defined by lifelong learning.

Tell us about your journey after Reach for Excellence…
I attended Marist and then went to Yale for college. I graduated with a B.S. in Biology and then returned to Georgia for medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, where I have stayed to complete my residency in Internal Medicine.

You and your sister went to Marist and then Yale. That’s quite impressive! Had you always dreamed of going to Yale?
It was only after meeting a Yale alumnus during my senior year that I discovered Yale would be a great fit. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine but wanted a well rounded college education, and the robust liberal arts curriculum at Yale fit that mold perfectly.

What was it like attending Marist after Reach for Excellence?
Marist provided a diverse and challenging curriculum that prepared me well for college. I will always be grateful for the personal connections I forged between Reach and Marist.

What advice do you have for students interested in medicine?
My advice would be to perform well in your math and science classes in college and to start accumulating some clinical experience through volunteering, either at a hospital or clinic. If possible, finding a research mentor will be beneficial as well, especially if their research has a clinical correlation. Don’t be afraid to take some time between college and medical school that build your resume with work or research experiences. Medical schools value well rounded individuals, and you don’t have to feel pressured to apply to medical school directly after college.

What are your long term career goals?
I hope to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, with a specific interest in bone marrow transplantation and cancer immunotherapy. I am excited to begin my fellowship in hematology and oncology this July at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

If you could speak to a donor right now, what would you want to say or want them to know about supporting Reach for Excellence?
The quality of one’s college experience undoubtedly has a substantial impact on one’s career goals and path. Reach provides a gateway and guiding hand for students to have the opportunity to have that experience, and in the process, will instill in them a lifelong love for learning.