Thriving in the Medical Field
BS '09, Biological Sciences
Janelle Minter ('09, Biological Sciences), a Castro Valley native, is a physician for Kaiser Permanente and was recently selected as one of the 344 outstanding physicians in the Greater Sacramento Area. Minter spends her time navigating between two departments: palliative medicine and hospital medicine. She has been a physician for a little over a year at Kaiser, and while it is a challenging job that requires long days, it is incredibly satisfying and fulfilling for her. "I feel I am making a difference in the lives of my patients, and I feel that this is the only job for me," said Minter.
Q&A with Janelle
Why did you decide to attend Cal State East Bay?I decided to attend Cal State East Bay for its location and financial reasons. I grew up in Castro Valley and my parents still live there. I knew if I attended Cal State East Bay I could live at home and would therefore save the cost of housing. Also I felt the tuition was a reasonable cost and good value.
How has your education here at East Bay helped you with your endeavors?My education at Cal State helped with my endeavors because I was able to work on two different Undergraduate Research Projects while at East Bay.
I worked with Dr. James Murray and his group on the neurobiology of the sea slug, Tritonia diomedea. We were specifically interested in the neuronal control of Titonia's crawling behavior and navigation in response to changes in magnetic field. Going to Cal State allowed me to have the opportunity to continue this research in Friday Harbor, WA with a team at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories. This was a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.
I also worked with Dr. Carol Lauzon and her group on the microbial inhabitants of tephritid fruit flies to assess any possible co-evolution that exists between the gut microbiota and the fruit flies. The goal of this research was to analyze this symbiobiotic relationship and apply it towards pest control efforts.
I also received leadership experience with the Alchemist Club, the chemistry club at Cal State East Bay. Different years I was the Vice President and President of this club; and I learned to plan and organize events with the help of our club's advisor, Dr. Michael Groziak.
I am grateful to Dr. Murray, Dr. Lauzon, Dr. Groziak and many other faculty and staff members who encouraged me during my years at Cal State and helped make my goal of attending medical school a reality.
Did you face any challenges at Cal State East Bay? If so, how did you handle them?
The biggest challenge I faced at Cal State East Bay was earning good grades while going to school, working and volunteering. I have had at least a part-time job ever since I was 16 years old. I knew my goal of attending medical school would also require me to volunteer. During my years at Cal State I also volunteered over 640 hours at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland. Between going to school, working and volunteering it was sometimes difficult to find the time to study. I missed out on a lot of social events because I had to devote more time to studying. It was frustrating at times, but in the end it was worth it; I graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Tell us about your experience being a Physician for Kaiser Permanente.
I have been a physician for Kaiser Permanente for a little over a year. I spend my time at Kaiser Permanente between two departments: palliative medicine and hospital medicine. Palliative medicine is a specialty that focuses on caring for patients with complex medical illnesses to improve and maintain their quality of life. Hospital medicine allows me to care for adult patients that are admitted to the hospital with a variety of medical illnesses. Being a physician is a challenging job and requires long work days, but it is also extremely satisfying. I feel I am making a difference in the lives of my patients and I feel that this is the only job for me.
Can you give us a little more info on your recent special recognition in the December 2019 of the Sacramento magazine?I was selected as one of the 344 outstanding physicians in the Greater Sacramento Area. This Top Doctors list was created by PRS (Professional Research Services) and is based on an online peer-review survey sent out to all certified doctors within the Sacramento area. Thousands of votes were cast honoring excellence in the medical field. Inclusion in Sacramento Magazine's Top Doctors list is based solely upon one's standing within their peer group. This honor is noteworthy because you are nominated by your peers for your commitment to deliver high quality, compassionate care.
If you could share one piece of advice with Pioneer students, what would that be?
The one piece of advice I would like to share with Pioneer students is to take advantage of the unique opportunities that going to Cal State can offer you. At Cal State East Bay you can really get to know the faculty and staff. Take advantage of the faculty's office hours, ask for help, everyone wants you to succeed. Time management is crucial; figure out a way to deal with your challenges (working, volunteering, etc.), but make your class and study time a priority.