AOMA Blog

Meet Nicole: Peace Corp Volunteer turned Acupuncture Student

Posted by Rob Davidson on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 @ 04:17 PM

AOMA Student Spotlight Nicole

Please introduce yourself: Where are you from? Where did you go to undergraduate? What did you study? What program are you in here? How far along/When did you start at AOMA?

My name is Nicole. I grew up in Dallas, TX and went to Texas A&M University for my undergraduate degree in International and Environmental Studies. I started the Master’s program here at AOMA in 2016.

What were you doing before you came to AOMA?

Before AOMA I mostly worked in the non-profit world. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer for 27 months in Peace Corps Paraguay's program. In a twisted bout of fate, I trained a group of 15 health magnet high schoolers to teach peer-to-peer sex-ed and tools for emotionally healthy relationships. I returned home to Dallas for three years and worked in food insecurity at the North Texas Food Bank as their Child Programs Team Lead.

What are some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?

Here's a huge list, because I couldn't choose one. Dr. Shen, Anne Cusick, Dr. Zhou, Dr. Wu and Dr. Song have taught me so much of what I know about patient-centered care and TCM today. There should be teaching awards for the work that Dr. Cone, Dr. Love and Dr. Becky Andrews do in the realm of western medicine.

What is your favorite thing about AOMA and why?

I love that it's such a warm and supportive community. I have met so many people here, and I don't even think I've had the time to really delve into those friendships as much as they deserve.

Have you started treating as a student intern yet? If so, describe a unique experience or something that surprised you.

Yes! I'm so glad that we start clinical work when we do. It's such a light at the end of the 4+ year academic tunnel that we have to get our Master's. Every patient who I see on my shifts brightens my day. If you are a patient and reading this, THANK YOU for trusting us with your health. You keep us sane throughout this program. 

What are you plans after graduation?

I'm still only halfway through my studies, but I do know that I would like to work with self-identified women, geriatrics, and have access to an herbal pharmacy. I'm not set on a geographical location yet but trusting that the right opportunities will show in a couple years as long as I keep saying "yes" to them! 

Do you have other interests/careers/hobbies you plan to also continue after graduation?

When I'm not cramming for a test, I find a lot of happiness in taking a stroll in my neighborhood, cycling and rock climbing. I still have part of my heart in the non-profit world and would love to work on making acupuncture more accessible for every socio-economic level when I graduate.

Want to learn more about AOMA's Master's Program? Download our Program Fact Sheet below:

Master's Program Fact Sheet

 

 

Topics: student spotlight, admissions, acupuncture students, aoma students

Jenna Valentine: Psychology Major & Youth Counselor, turned Acupuncture Student

Posted by Rob Davidson on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 @ 04:03 PM

Acupuncture Student Spotlight Jenna Valentine

Please introduce yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to undergraduate? What did you study? How far along/When did you start at AOMA?

Hi. My name is Jenna Valentine and I am originally from Northern California. I graduated from Occidental College in 2004 with a degree in Psychology/minor in Spanish and started at AOMA in Fall 2017. 

What were you doing before you came to AOMA?

Lots of cool things happened in the 10+ years between graduating from undergrad and starting graduate school:  I worked in the child welfare/juvenile justice system, ran an after-school program for at-risk youth, got married, had a baby, moved to Austin, got divorced, and started this new iteration of my life. 

What was your first introduction to acupuncture and what was your impression?

I’ve been a pretty major fan of Acupuncture since college when I went to a fundraiser where it was being offered and saw immediate results. I got treatments on and off (including labor induction!) and nagged all my friends/family to try it (I can be very persuasive!), but I never made the connection that I could be the person doing rather than simply receiving the treatment.  

When did you become interested in studying Chinese medicine and why? What made you choose AOMA as your school and/or shift your career focus to come to AOMA?

My divorce launched me out of stay-at-home mom world and I met with a career counselor to decide my next steps. In a brainstorming session, we both realized that helping others through finding health and wellness was my true passion. Acupuncture provided the crossroads between emotional and physical health as this medicine does not separate the two. AOMA was the ideal fit as I was committed to staying in Austin and had already heard wonderful feedback about the program. 

You mentioned that helping others through finding health and wellness was your true passion. Do you think that’s what drew you to psychology too initially?

I was drawn to study psychology as I wanted to work with vulnerable populations. I volunteered at a homeless shelter during high school and was committed to helping at-risk youth from an early age. During college, I worked with veterans with mental illness and substance abuse issues as well as counselor referred youth. I’ve worked with teen moms, gang members, trauma victims, and am committed to helping people find their path to a fulfilling life.

You also mention that acupuncture and Chinese medicine provides "the crossroads between emotional and physical health as this medicine does not separate the two." Can you speak to how, in your opinion and experience, acupuncture and Chinese medicine specifically can improve emotional health?

It was so refreshing to learn that Chinese medicine views emotions and physical health as an integrated experience. Big emotions can impact physical health and compromised physical health can impact emotions. This is so obvious to me and so frustrating when people don’t “get it”. I love learning about specific points, such as the ghost point category, that directly related to emotional health. I hope to delve more deeply into this area of the medicine.

What are some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?

I have enjoyed all of my classes and professors at AOMA. The diverse teaching methods and perspectives create wonderful learning opportunities and I have felt incredibly supported by all the staff.  I haven’t had classes with all the faculty yet, but the classes I have taken have been wonderful. Dr. Mandyam and Dr. Shen are two of the most low-key hilarious people. They are both brilliant and their dry senses of humor make their classes amazing. Dr. Cone is such a joy to learn from and his passion is contagious. 

Dr. Tan has the most beautiful, poetic way of explaining Chinese culture to us and helping us understand the larger context of this medicine. Dr. Song and Dr. Zhou’s knowledge of herbs is unreal and their patience as we try to learn from them is unparalleled. Justin Phillips is so generous with his knowledge and always seems happy to take time out of his day to chat about what he has learned. Anne Cusick and Dr. Love are two of the sweetest and smartest cheerleaders always taking the time to help students regain their confidence during their learning curves. 

Robert Laguna is a star. He will bend over backwards to help anyone and he provides students with both big picture and real-world knowledge. Dr. Luo always goes the extra mile bringing in photos and stories of China, his life, and experiences. Dr. Yan & Dr. Xu manage both grace and strength as they teach us Taiji and Qigong with seemingly limitless patience. Dr. Fan is so strong it’s ridiculous and makes Tuina seem easy (spoiler alert: it’s not). And, last but not least, Dr. Wu is as magical as everyone says. 

What is your favorite thing about AOMA and why? Describe so far your experiences as a student at AOMA?

AOMA is such a sweet community of people dedicated to serving people. It has been a balance being a single mom, working, maintaining relationships, having adequate self care and managing the rigorous program, but I have felt incredible support from the students, faculty, and administration. 

Have you started treating as a student intern yet? If so, please describe a unique experience or something that surprised you.

I’ve recently started treating in the student clinics and have been surprised at how incredibly kind the patients have all been even though many are in pain. 

What, if any perceptions of Chinese medicine have changed from when you started the program to now? What vision would you like to see for the future of healthcare?

 Prior to starting at AOMA, I think I viewed Acupuncture as a secondary medicine. I remember someone asking me if I was in medical school and I said, “No, I’m in school for acupuncture.”  Boy was I in for a surprise when I realized I was, in fact, in medical school. The Western world has a way of devaluing the “alternative” and there seems to be an unspoken assumption that one only uses ‘the alternative’ when one cannot get ‘the real thing.’ So, I guess we need to stop calling Chinese Medicine “alternative medicine” or “Eastern medicine” and simply call it what it is: Medicine. 

What are you plans after graduation?

As for my plans after graduation. . . I am blissfully unsure. The current vision is to find a way to get paid to travel the world and offer this medicine all over. I would love to work in a wellness center especially one that has a mobile component. I will also be continuing to raise my incredible daughter, perfect my right hook at the boxing gym, provide coaching and support about relationship/intimacy issues, and spend too much time laughing at memes on the internet. 

Jenna is a student in AOMA's Master's Program. To learn more about our Master's Degree program click below!

Master's Program Fact Sheet

Topics: student spotlight, admissions, acupuncture students, aoma students

Meet Greg Green, AOMA Director of Admissions

Posted by Rob Davidson on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 @ 01:30 PM

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Greg is the new Director of Admissions making him the first point of contact for prospective students considering AOMA. Greg Green has over 20 years of experience working in higher education, staffing and entrepreneurial endeavors.  His background has included facilitating the launch of online graduate programs for Baylor University and Louisiana State University.  He holds a BS in Management from University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing an MBA from Texas A&M University.  His passion for helping others succeed in life and education led him to the doors of AOMA.

Away from work Greg enjoys being outdoors. He is also a certified rescue diver and has owned 5 business and invented two products which are still in commercial applications. 

Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master's Program

Topics: admissions, aoma students

Will Morris: New Focus as AOMA Resident Scholar and President Emeritus

Posted by William Morris on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 12:44 PM

Dear AOMA Community,

It is not without mixed feelings that I call upon the Board of Governors to begin a search for a new president. As I gaze upon the final 1/3 of my life, it has become necessary for me to release a portion of my work which has been a primary focus for the last ten years the role as president of AOMA. It is now time to refine and cultivate the teachings with which I have been gifted by family lineages and literate traditions.

Good leadership requires a timely and healthy transfer of roles and responsibilities. The transition to a new president will take place according to these values.

At this crossroad, I would like to take the opportunity to send gratitude and blessings to this community. I could not have had the success that has taken place over the last ten years without a team composed of remarkable grit and commitment. Especially, thank you to: Linda Fontaine, Jamie Wu, Anne Province, Lesley Hamilton, John Finnell, Donna Hurta and Cara Edmond. The AOMA board of governors has provided extraordinary wisdom and insight in guiding the mission of the institution; thank you for your commitment. AOMA has the finest faculty in the field and I am privileged to work at their side. AOMA students generate an extraordinary community whereby learning is extended through their passion for the work and each other. I would like to recognize especially those learners I have worked with in the clinic; that is the highlight of my week. The staff at AOMA is nothing less than amazing, pursuing institutional goals with enthusiasm and tenacity, thank you.

I am pleased that I will remain with AOMA in the role of Resident Scholar and President Emeritus. To this end, I am wishing health, wealth and happiness for every recipient of this note and to those lives which AOMA has had the opportunity to touch.

Warmly,

Will

Topics: acupuncture school, aoma students

Meet Peter Schechter, Student and Career Services Assistant

Posted by Rob Davidson on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 09:45 AM

Peter Schechter, Student and Career Services Assistant

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Peter is the Student and Career Services Assistant here at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. He works with the greater community of Austin to coordinate the Lunchtime Brown Bag Lectures here at AOMA. Also, he works within the AOMA community to help coordinate events with the AOMA Student Association and other student clubs and organizations. Currently, Peter is working on a program to offer increased support and advice for people who have recently graduated. Peter also assists in organizing the biennial China study trips by processing document and helping students get in touch with Dr. Tan about the program.

Students should get in touch with Peter if they’re interested in joining any student clubs or activities, the Brown Bag Series, the China Study Trip or have any ideas as to how Student Services can better serve the student body. Also, anyone needing to be added to the alumni directory here at AOMA should contact Peter.

3 things that make Peter special:

1. His favorite short quote it “Cease, cows, life is short.”

2. His most treasured object is an old manual impact driver inherited from his grandfather.

3. He has a poke-and-stick tattoo on his left wrist. He advises against poke-and-stick tattoos.

Master's Program Fact Sheet

Topics: student services, aoma students, china trip, grad school, china

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