Shyamalee Ramaraj might have moved across the state line, but she didn’t go far to make her dream come true to attend medical school a reality. She grew up primarily in Panama City, Florida where she graduated from Bay High School. She stayed in Florida to earn her Bachelors Degree in Biology from FAMU. She accomplished that by the time she was only 20 years old. Her next academic step was obtaining her Masters Degree in Microbiology from the University of Florida. Finally, Ramaraj settled in Dothan and is a second-year student at ACOM. She has been volunteering since she arrived here.
Two organizations that are benefitting from her heart of volunteerism are 334Prevention Project and Dothan City Schools. Through a partnership between the two organizations, Ramaraj and other volunteers are teaching the Mendez Foundation’s “Too Good for Violence” curriculum. She said, “This program is a great supplement to the education that the students are already receiving. We have a focus on drug prevention, but we do more than that. The materials that we use explain the ‘why’ behind it and it helps students so much with critical thinking skills.” All of the volunteers are required to complete a training program conducted by 334Prevention Project Executive Director, Dana Bonney. Regarding Ramaraj, Bonney said, “She brings a level of positivity to the classroom setting causing the students to focus their thoughts on alternative methods of dealing with their stressors.” She is presently volunteering through this program at the Dothan City Schools Virtual School and at Dothan Preparatory Academy.
Ramaraj also volunteers as a Bright Key volunteer tutor at Selma Street Elementary School. When asked about her desire to give back she emphatically commented, “Volunteerism and helping others is the purpose of my existence. Children are the backbone of our society so we want to make sure that we raise children who are genuinely good people. This program helps guide them in the right direction.”
The future Dr.Ramaraj has not decided on a medial focus just yet or where she might land to practice medicine. Based on her perspective of giving back and volunteerism, I am secretly hoping she hangs her medical shingle in Dothan! Thank you Shyamalee for choosing Dothan and for being a HERO in our schools!