Student Spotlight: David Cantog, U.S. Army

Yale University Cohort

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

Before WSP, I took some community college courses in 2003 and began taking courses in my current undergraduate program in 2017. I took evening classes during our training cycles and took online courses while deployed. My confidence varied depending on the coursework. I never really had a solid, repeatable system in place over the last few years.
 
Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

While deployed, my courses were entirely online. I would often have to pair evening classes with an online class due to training at night. After the spring of 2020, during the Covid-19 academic changes, my courses became hybrid virtual and online. I feel my instructors at Campbell did a great job of adapting to those changes. WSP’s virtual course was exceptionally well put together, efficient, and better than I would’ve expected for a virtual experience. The staff did an excellent job with our schedule, guest speakers, and evening mentor groups.

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this winter?

I was excited to participate in the Winter STEM program and learn more about creating and implementing a system that I could apply to my future coursework. I was also looking forward to meeting other peers with similar goals in similar seasons of their journey.

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

One of the best things I learned was the value of self-assessment and seeking improvement. Asking for help is difficult and asking, “How can I do this better?” was key to my success this past week.

What were you looking forward to learning during STEM week?

 I was looking forward to learning how our fellows and professors approached the problems and material, and how they organized it to retain and apply it in the future.

What research project did you work on, and what did you learn from that experience?

I worked on the “Data Exploration” research project with Dr. Merritt. I learned that I enjoy Python and can now appreciate the versatility of coding. We were able to look at code, not just as a skill but as a way to help us answer questions.

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you this week so far?

All of the fellows I interacted with were amazing, and they were patient, competent, and structured. I enjoyed the week.

Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

WSP has dramatically improved my academic confidence. We were given an overwhelming amount of work on novel topics and were guided along the path of problem-solving. This course has shown me that taking on a problem one step at a time, reading ahead one lecture at a time, and organization all matter. If this isn’t enough, then asking for help from a mentor or tutor is the next step. By taking this approach, I have supreme
confidence moving forward in my education. I will apply the lessons that I learned in my remaining undergraduate courses and on my path to becoming a Physician.