Match Day 2024: Grenadian SGU Student Secures Highly Competitive US Residency Position

What does it feel like to match into residency? Just ask St. George’s University medical student Toya Ameda, BSc ’21. Toya, who hails from Grenada, secured a highly competitive residency in the United States in interventional radiology. She is one of 930 soon-to-be graduates of SGU to secure US postgraduate residencies in the 2024 match cycle.

“As you can imagine, the match process was both nerve-wracking and incredibly fulfilling,” said Toya, who is expected to graduate next week from SGU’s School of Medicine. “Finding out that I matched felt surreal. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders, as I now had confirmation that I would actually be an interventional radiologist.”

In July, Toya will be relocating to Miami, FL to begin her career as a preliminary surgery resident at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She will then transition to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA to start her integrated interventional radiology residency in 2025.



At the Forefront of Medical Treatment

Match Day is a monumental occasion for all aspiring doctors—the moment they discover where they are going for residency training and what specialty they will be entering.

SGU students matched into at least 22 specialties this year, including highly competitive positions in fields such as: anesthesiology, vascular surgery, urology, and Toya’s chosen field of interventional radiology— a medical sub-specialty of radiology utilizing minimally-invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.

One of the reasons why an interventional radiology residency is seen as so competitive is the rapid pace of technological advancement in this field. Interventional radiologists must stay up to date on the latest imaging techniques and treatment options and be skilled at using complex equipment like CT scanners and fluoroscopes.

Toya chose interventional radiology as her specialty because she believes it is a revolutionary medical field—offering minimally invasive treatments to patients from routine procedures to lifesaving ones.

“Its incorporation of the latest technologies and innovative techniques ensures that patients receive the most innovative advances in treatment without having to opt for the traditional invasive route,” she said.

Dr. John Madden, director of SGU’s Office of Career Guidance and a former faculty member at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, was thrilled to learn that Toya matched into the university’s interventional radiology residency program.

“She will be part of a very large and prestigious healthcare system in the Philadelphia region,” said Dr. Madden. “I know from personal experience at this academic center that she will be joining fellow residents and staff who are at the cutting edge of medical procedures and has the potential to become a world class interventional radiologist.”

SGU Alumni Support

Many students rejoiced and breathed a sigh of relief on Match Day 2024. For Toya, she is forever grateful to her mentor and SGU alum, Sumeet Bahl, MD ’13, and couldn’t imagine not having him guiding her through the process.

As someone who had been in Toya’s shoes vying for a residency spot in the same specialty, Dr. Bahl is now a practicing interventional radiologist at The Brooklyn Hospital Center and one of her biggest champions.

“I saw the fire in her as soon as I met her,” Dr. Bahl said. “She had incredible board scores, was well-spoken, and showed up for everything. She was called to one of the most competitive fields in medicine. There are very few black women in our field, let alone international medical graduates. This is a huge deal for the field, women in medicine, and her country.”


A Daughter of the Soil

From as far back as she could remember, it seemed Toya, who grew up in New Hampshire, St. George’s, desired academic greatness. In 2015, she garnered public recognition of her scholastic prowess by winning the Grenada Brain Bee Challenge, while attending St. Joseph’s Convent (SJC), St. George’s.

Two years later, Toya brought home the coveted Alan A. La Grenade Shield Award to SJC and promptly topped that a year later, when she was honored at the National Youth Awards ceremony for academic excellence.

Toya’s academic dominance led her straight to SGU, where after becoming one of Grenada’s prestigious Island Scholars she was awarded a scholarship to attend the University in 2019. She enrolled as a premedical student in SGU’s five-year MD pathway and two years later graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) with a bachelor’s degree in medical sciences.

“From the moment she arrived on campus, Toya has been impressing us all with her outstanding academic abilities,” praised Dr. Lucy Eugene, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “As a graduate of SAS, we are extremely proud of Toya and all that she has accomplished so far. Her accomplishments can be an inspiration to our students and speak to all that is possible with hard work and dedication. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the soon-to-be Dr. Ameda.”

The Journey to Future Dr. Ameda

Practicing medicine was not always the goal for Toya. She originally wanted to be a veterinarian.

“It wasn’t until my late teens that I recognized the need for improved healthcare in Grenada and felt that my calling was instead human medicine,” shared Toya.

The journey to making that dream come true began with her decision to apply to SGU as a premedical student. By choosing SGU, Toya felt that it made sense not only because she is Grenadian, but she would also get to remain close to home, while still receiving an international education encompassing academic excellence and a rich, multicultural environment.

Another benefit for Toya was that she also received SGU’s Grenadian Scholarship Award.

“I am incredibly grateful to have received this scholarship,” said Toya. “It has allowed me to pursue my studies without worrying about tuition and provided additional benefits that greatly enhanced my medical school experience.”

During her time at SGU, Toya immersed herself in several extracurricular activities and student clubs. She was a part of the Iota Epsilon Alpha (IEA) International Honor Society and Women in Medicine (WIM) student organization while on island, where she had the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community.

“I couldn’t imagine another medical school experience other than my time at SGU,” stated Toya. “One of my greatest accomplishments was conducting the mini-health fairs in Grenada that I pioneered during my clinical years. I worked with the Grenada Government’s Ministry of Health to reach the wider community and recruited first and second year SGU medical students to participate. I felt honored to give back to my Grenadian community and can’t wait to continue doing so on an even bigger scale.”

With a highly competitive residency position secured, the future Dr. Ameda said she ultimately hopes to practice interventional radiology in Grenada.

“This will allow me to help Grenadians and other Caribbean nationals gain access to advanced healthcare without having to travel abroad,” said Toya. “Until then, I plan on being a part of global health initiatives like RAD-AID, a nonprofit public radiology service that delivers life-changing healthcare to underserved communities worldwide.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

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Southeast Missouri State University Starts Partnership with St. George’s University for Pre-Med, Pre-Vet Students

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) and St. George’s University (SGU), located in Grenada in the West Indies, entered an agreement this month to create a pipeline to medicine and veterinarian studies for students.

“St. George’s is thrilled to form this partnership with Southeast Missouri State University and to offer their most qualified students multiple pathways to a degree in medicine or veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor of St. George’s University. “We look forward to empowering SEMO students to pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor or veterinarian.”

The agreement sets up a 4+4 program with the two institutions. After completing four years of pre-medicine or pre-veterinarian studies at Southeast, students who meet the requirements will be granted admission to SGU’s School of Medicine or School of Veterinary Medicine to continue studies.

It also establishes a 3+4 program, in which students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology: biomedical sciences will complete three years at Southeast and then be granted entry into the SGU School of Medicine if meeting requirements.

“We recruit a lot of high-achieving international students who aspire to become physicians,” said Kevin Timlin, executive director of International Education for Southeast. “However, admission to U.S. medical school is very challenging, even more so for international applicants. Our agreement with SGU guarantees all SEMO graduates from the pre-medical program who meet the requirements will gain admission into their program. This is a great opportunity for qualified pre-med students to know that a seat at an accredited medical school is guaranteed.”

“For the last few years, there are more SGU graduates practicing medicine in the U.S. than any other medical school,” Timlin said. “While SGU is in the beautiful Caribbean nation of Grenada, their students do their residencies and internships in the U.S., and the programs seamlessly lead to practicing medicine in the U.S.”

Students who are accepted into the 3+4 or 4+4 programs for medical sciences will receive a $10,000 scholarship to be evenly dispersed throughout the SGU program. Students can apply for the 4+4 or 3+4 program when they apply to Southeast or while enrolled as students.

Interested students can visit SEMO’s dedicated landing page for the partnership with SGU to learn more about program requirements and opportunities.


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5 top SGU School of Medicine stories in 2023

SOM Must Read News of 2023

From lifelong dreams coming true on Match Day to expanded clinical opportunities to a prestigious grant that paved the way for students to complete mental health research in underserved communities, the St. George’s University School of Medicine community made its mark in 2023. 

Find out which stories made our list of SOM “must reads” this year. And when you’re done, don’t forget to read our top trending School of Veterinary Medicine stories this year as well. 



1. Match Day 2023 

Dreams came true for many aspiring physicians on Match Day 2023.

More than 1,000 medical students and graduates secured first-time residency positions in the US across specialties that included neurology, urology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more. Wondering what it feels like to match? SGU Students shared what it felt like to discover that all their hard work led them to being able to add “MD” next to their name.

Read how Dreams came true on Match Day 2023
View 2023 residencies


2. Back to School: Campus gets a mini makeover

Students coming to campus for the first time or returning to medical school in August 2023 came back to several expansion and redevelopment initiatives on the True Blue campus. This included a revamped bookstore, expanded Welcome Centre, renovations of the Charter Hall Radiology Lab, additional classrooms, and a new area for School of Veterinary Medicine communications curriculum.

See the renovations and mini makeover at the SGU True Blue campus


3. Clinical rotation opportunities: SGU expands its partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals

Earlier this year, SGU renewed and expanded its relationship with NYC Health + Hospitals to bolster the pipeline of physicians from diverse backgrounds into New York’s healthcare system.

The agreement extends opportunities for SGU medical students to complete clinical rotations at affiliated NYC hospitals during their third and fourth years of study, gaining hands-on experience at some of the most culturally diverse hospitals in the country.  The agreement also increases the number of full-tuition medical school scholarships awarded through the SGU School of Medicine CityDoctors scholarship program from 12 to 15 each year.

Learn how SGU and NYC Health + Hospitals are strengthening the clinical rotation pipeline


4. Making a difference: Students use grant to further mental health research

Two School of Medicine students used a prestigious grant awarded to St. George’s University to further their research in mental health initiatives for underserved communities.

SGU and fourth-year students John Crane and Janice Lee were among the 2022-2023 recipients of  The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s (APAF) Helping Hands Grant Program. SGU is one of the few international medical schools to receive the award since the program’s inception in 2005.

Read how SGU students used a prestigious APA “Helping Hands Grant” to benefit underserved populations


5. Why a Caribbean school was right for me: SOM grad featured in AMSA’s The New Physician

Earning an MD from a Caribbean medical school offers several benefits to future physicians, and SGU alum Joshua Ramjist, MD ’11, shared his advice for those weighing the pros and cons of attending an institution outside of the United States.

“My advice? Go for it, but do your research first,” according to an editorial written by the pediatric surgery fellow in the Spring issue of the American Medical Student Association’s The New Physician.

Titled, “A Global Education Helped Me Become a Better Doctor It Can Do the Same for You,” Dr. Ramjist shared his positive experience as a student at St. George’s University and why he chose to attend a Caribbean medical school.

Read about the School of Medicine grad featured in AMSA’s The New Physician


-Laurie Chartorynsky 

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St. George’s University Strengthens Public Safety in Grenada with Fire Truck Donation to Royal Grenada Police Force

In an impressive display of solidarity and commitment to public safety, St. George’s University has officially handed over the keys to an American LaFrance Custom Pumper fire truck to the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF). The truck was presented at the True Blue campus to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jessmon Prince and Thaddeus Hamilton, Acting Inspector of Police attached to the fire department.

“On behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Don McKenzie, and the fire department we want to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to St. George’s University,” said Deputy Commissioner Prince. “In the past, SGU has donated other firefighting equipment to help our firemen be better equipped to handle the task of managing fires. So today, receiving this truck is going to be another boost to our firefighting capabilities on island and we are extremely grateful for this gesture.”

Beyond being a symbol of the continued partnership between SGU and the RGPF, the new fire truck represents a tangible investment in public safety and wellbeing.

The red American LaFrance Custom Pumper fire truck is in excellent condition, and has an automatic transmission, a 450 HP diesel engine and 6KW diesel generator. Equipped with a 1,500 GPM side-mount pump and 750-gallon water tank, it has hydraulic hose reels with driver and passenger side deck guns, and front, side, and rear discharge ports. Also included in the donation were several hundred feet of 3.5 inch and 1.5-inch hose line and 20 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs).

“The fire department has a strong history with St. George’s University,” stated Inspector Hamilton. “We have partnered on several occasions in training and other operations to ensure that our team of firefighters received the best quality of training. And as such we are pleased to welcome this gift today from the University.”

This marks the second time SGU has made such a significant donation to the RGPF. In 2021, the University donated several water hoses, nozzles, bunker gear, and other firefighting equipment to the fire department.

SGU’s 2021 donation of firefighting equipment to the RGPF 

Ryan Charles, Captain at SGU’s Department of Public Safety in charge of Operations, emphasized, “SGU’s illustrious working relationship with the Royal Grenada Police Force continues to evolve. This fire truck, coupled with our previous contributions, reflects our dedication to fostering a safer environment. It will undoubtedly enhance the RGPF’s ability to respond quickly to fire emergencies and other rescue emergencies.”

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3 ways integrative medicine can lower cervical cancer risk: SOM grad featured in mindbodygreen

doctor examining patient

What is the difference between integrative and traditional medicine solutions? 

“Integrative practitioners heal by treating your whole body, including the environment your body lives in and the lifestyle you expose your body to,” according to St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate, Dr. Dana Cohen

Dr. Cohen graduated SGU in 1995. As an internal and integrative medicine specialist practicing in New York City, she treats patients by offering alternative approaches to health and wellness that can complement traditional methods of treatment.  

Dr. Cohen recently shared her expertise in wellness blog, mindbodygreen. In her article, I’m a holistic MD: What I tell my patients to do to lower cervical cancer risk,” she discussed holistic strategies to lower the risk of cervical cancer.  

Her three tips included ways to:   

  • Take care of your immune system with essential nutrients and supplements; 
  • Keep hydrated; and 
  • Reduce stress. 

“Taking a holistic, proactive approach to your immune health will also enhance your overall well-being and quality of life—yet another reason to start implementing these tips today,” Dr. Cohen wrote.  




 -Laurie Chartorynsky

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On the blog: What is preventive medicine?
Grad tackles hem/onc and integrative medicine fellowships to treat patients’ “whole health”
A first of its kind: SGU launches center for integrative medicine

School of Medicine Grad Featured in AMSA’s The New Physician

St. George's University campus, sunset view

Earning an MD from a Caribbean medical school offers several benefits to future physicians, and St. George’s University alum Joshua Ramjist, MD ’11, is sharing his advice for those weighing the pros and cons of attending an institution outside of the United States.  

“My advice? Go for it, but do your research first,” according to an editorial written by the pediatric surgery fellow in the Spring issue of the American Medical Student Association’s The New Physician.  

Titled, “A Global Education Helped Me Become a Better Doctor It Can Do the Same for You,” Dr. Ramjist shared his positive experience as a student at St. George’s University and why he chose to attend a Caribbean medical school.  


Among the reasons he is glad he went to SGU, in his words: 

  • A truly international education: A diverse array of classmates led to learning about different cultures and their healthcare systems. 
  • Global clinical experience: Dr. Ramjist spent his first year of medical school in Newcastle, UK thanks to a partnership between SGU and Northumbria University (he spent his second year in Grenada); he traveled to Thailand to participate in a two-week long selective; and completed rotations and ultimately matching in Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.  
  • The ability to practice anywhere in the world: SGU gave him the tools needed to pass licensing exams not just in the US but in other countries.  


“Many medical school hopefuls may not consider Caribbean medical schools. But that can be a mistake. Caribbean schools can offer a truly global education, and open up a path to practicing medicine in the United States or Canada.”

Dr. Ramjist added that prospective students need to do their research before committing to a school, looking at things like residency placement and licensing exam pass rates; how well a school supports students in their journey both academically and non-academically; scholarship/financial aid opportunities; and accreditation, among other aspects.  

All that said, today, Dr. Ramjist, MD, MSc, MBA, FRCS(C) practices in the division of general and thoracic surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. In 2019, he was named as the Maimonides Medical Center Department of Surgery’s Chief Resident of the Decade.  

“My international education has allowed me to better care for patients of different backgrounds and identities. I can relate to their experiences when I’m at their bedside. And I see them not just for the disease they have but as a whole person, culture and all,” he said. “For these reasons, I’d encourage any student considering a Caribbean medical school to take the leap.” 


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Class of 2023 Encouraged Toward a Life of Integrity and Service

Although the morning rain showers threatened to spoil the day, the St. George’s University Schools of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies Class of 2023 beamed with pride and gratitude. The sun shone brightly on the True Blue campus as they received their degrees on Saturday, May 20 at the Grenada Commencement Ceremony.



Both a faculty member and a student at SGU, this year’s SGS class speaker Rachqueda Salfarlie wasn’t the only one in her family graduating that day. She shared this special milestone with her siblings, Neisha and Marvin Salfarlie, graduating with a Master of Education in curriculum pedagogy and leadership and a Bachelor of Science in management, respectively.

Neisha Salfarlie (left), Rachqueda Salfarlie (middle), and Marvin Salfarlie (right)

“This day is meaningful because I get to share it with my family,” said Ms. Salfarlie, who graduated with her third degree from SGU, a Master of Education in curriculum, pedagogy, and leadership. “My son, Xavier, will see me graduate for the first time. My siblings, Neisha and Marvin Salfarlie are also graduating here today. I am so happy that my parents, partner, and other siblings are in the audience to share in my joy.”

Joining Ms. Salfarlie as a commencement speaker was SAS valedictorian Tamara Marryshow. Ms. Marryshow completed her Bachelor of Science in business and accounting with a perfect 4.0 GPA and is currently employed by a company that recently appointed her to the position of business director. Being the first to achieve a college degree in her family is what Ms. Marryshow considers her greatest achievement—one that is as much her family’s as hers.

“I urge you always to take a moment to reflect on your successes, whether big or small,” Ms. Marryshow encouraged her fellow graduands. “For after looking back on all you’ve accomplished, how can you not be inspired to move forward? Today, we are celebrating because this academic journey has adequately prepared us for our next big milestone, one that will be more challenging but equally rewarding.”



Echoing the valedictorian’s sentiments was Professor, The Most Honorable Violet Eudine Barriteau, who addressed the more than 200 graduates from 34 countries in a keynote speech that was both poignant and topical as it focused on the theme of creating an exceptional professional life defined by service and integrity.

Professor Barriteau, a Grenadian-born Caribbean feminist scholar and activist, has a distinguished record of accomplishments and is a pioneer in women’s educational leadership. She is the first woman appointed pro-vice chancellor at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus and the first to become principal of two campuses at The UWI.

“On this glorious morning, as you embrace your future, wherever you go in life, always operate with these principles,” counseled Professor Barriteau. “The mutuality of respect, the reciprocity of accountability, the imperative of social justice, of course inclusive of gender justice, and a dedication to integrity and service. Go forth and conquer Grenada and the region. I congratulate you!”

Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on June 3-4.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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5 tips when applying to international medical schools: SGU featured in Forbes article

What do aspiring doctors need to know when considering which international medical schools to apply to? A recent Forbes article shared crucial insight and advice for prospective international medical students.

While it’s no secret that medical school admission rates, particularly at US schools, are lower than ever—just 38% of applicants received an acceptance letter last year—aspiring doctors shouldn’t let these numbers discourage them from pursuing their dreams, the article stated.

US medical schools are not the only pathway to a career in medicine: international medical schools have proven a viable option, while still allowing the physician to practice medicine in the US.

“International medical schools tend to look not just at a student’s MCAT score, GPA or shadowing hours,” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds shared in the article. “We seek out qualified, well-rounded individuals who may not fit the traditional mold of a pre-med student because we know that their diverse experiences can make them exceptional doctors.”

Still it’s important to do your research before applying to any international medical school. Here are five key key criteria to keep in mind.

    • A university’s average GPA and MCAT scores of incoming students;
    • Financial aid availability;
    • A school’s accreditation status;
    • Curriculum that is styled after US medical schools;
    • Research and clinical opportunities.

Adding to the criteria listed, Dr. Olds recommends students investigate an institution’s USMLE pass rate and residency placement rate.

“A student’s future career as a doctor really starts with their medical school decision,” Olds said. “There are so many quality medical school options out there. Students just need to do their research to find them.”





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SGU President Dr. Richard Olds addresses physician shortage in Q&A with Healio

In an article published by Healio, St. George’s University President Dr. Richard Olds addresses how international medical graduates can help solve the primary care physician shortage in the US. During the interview, Dr. Olds provides insight into the conditions that caused the shortage and how it has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID has also made this shortage worse since most primary care doctors support themselves in the outpatient area, and during the first year of the pandemic, about 10% of physicians closed their practices permanently,” Dr. Olds stated in the article. “Indeed, by 2034, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates the US will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians.”

While the problem is growing, there are potential solutions, including educating more international medical graduates. International medical graduates are more likely to practice primary care in areas where the need for physicians is greatest, such as the rural US, and can offer the quality care needed to close the gap.

“Because U.S. medical school grads are not going into primary care or practicing in rural areas in large numbers, many international medical graduates have filled that gap,” according to Dr. Olds. “About 40% of the primary care doctors in the U.S. trained outside the states. At my university, 75% of our grads go into primary care fields while 25% specialize.”

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SAS Alum Wins Grenada’s Groovy Monarch Competition

Growing up, life for Rashid “Cryave” Julliene, BSc ’21 was not an easy one. However, he credits the love and support of his family for pushing him toward higher education and his musical aspirations.

Wanting to be able to produce his own music, as well as perform it, Mr. Julliene applied to St. George’s University to complete a bachelor’s degree in information technology.

Later, he would emerge onto the Grenadian soca music scene in 2019—positioning himself as a force to be reckoned with by placing fourth in the 2019 National Groovy Monarch competition with his hit selection “Genie Lover”.

In 2022, he followed up that hit with another Groovy smasher entitled “Unbothered,” which he would go on to perform and win the crown at this year’s National Groovy Monarch competition in August.

Currently, Mr. Julliene is part of a delegation traveling to Trinidad and Tobago to represent Grenada’s culture and heritage and the traditional aspect of carnival. He sat down with SGU News to share about his recent victory and how his IT degree from SGU ties into his bigger musical dreams.

St. George’s University: Why did you choose to pursue music? And who influenced your decision?

Rashid Julliene: I love the process of creating music, putting it out into the world, and the reaction I get from people when I do. Music to me is a universal language. It’s something that you can speak even if there’s a language barrier. It is the universal communicator that everyone understands. I sometimes listen to music from different languages that I don’t even understand, but I still get it.

My mom has had the biggest influence on my decision to pursue music. The first time I ever performed was because of her. She recognized my talent very early on and she told me that if I love music, I should never miss an opportunity to perform. She encouraged me to show people what I could do and that helped develop my confidence.

SGU: You were recently crowned Grenada’s National Groovy Monarch, tell us what that experience was like? How did you feel when you won?

RJ: It was bittersweet when I won that title. I was extremely elated of course, but my mom was not there to see me win. So, I was also a bit sad, especially considering how much she’s influenced me to pursue my dream of performing my music. That experience was an emotional moment for me and one that I will remember forever.

SGU: You studied information technology at SGU, describe the link between that degree and your musical aspirations?

RJ: Studying IT at SGU was a no brainer for me. Music has become very technological over the years. And in my eyes a complete musician is someone who can not only sing the music but produce it as well. Earning a degree in IT has gotten me one step closer to achieving my dreams, especially since I already had the natural singing talent so putting those two together just made sense.


“University life isn’t easy and there’s lots of challenges, but SGU prepared me for that aspect of life because life also isn’t easy and is filled with challenges too. SGU allowed me to become more self-aware and helped me to focus, specialize, and build a career.”


SGU: How well do you feel that SGU prepared you for the next step in your journey?

RJ: While attending SGU I met some of my closest friends and was surrounded by staff and faculty that were extremely supportive. During my time there I joined several student organizations including the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Management Information Systems and Information Technology Association (MISIT). I even joined a biology group just because I wanted to meet new people and try new things outside of my field of interest. University life isn’t easy and there’s lots of challenges, but SGU prepared me for that aspect of life because life also isn’t easy and is filled with challenges too. SGU allowed me to become more self-aware and helped me to focus, specialize, and build a career.

SGU: What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering applying to SGU?

RJ: Your heart has to be in it, and it has to be something that you really want to do and not just what your parents want you to do. That’s the only way you’re going to overcome the challenges that SGU is going to throw at you. You’re only going to be willing to do the extra things and go the extra mile if you’re interested in what you’re doing. My advice would be to choose something that you’re passionate about and focus on what you want to achieve and let that be your guiding light.

SGU: What is one of your greatest accomplishments you’ve achieved in your career so far?

RJ: It would have to be, me being crowned the National Groovy Monarch. Hands down this was the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on and the biggest moment of my career so far. I’m looking forward to many more moments like that one.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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