Jessica and Sunny Aslam Earn M.D. Degrees
After graduating from UMF with pre-med academic majors in biology and chemistry, married couple Jessica LeFebvre Aslam and Sunny Aslam earned their M.D. degrees from Saba University School of Medicine. As part of their M.D. program training, the Aslams have completed clinical rotations in areas ranging from surgery to child psychiatry and pediatrics. Sunny plans on undertaking a five-year specialization in psychiatry and child psychiatry, while Jessica envisions practicing pediatric medicine.
The couple said choosing a pre-med program at UMF was solid preparation for medical school. And for Jessica, who transferred to UMF from a large state university, the close relationships with UMF faculty enriched the academic experience. “Dr. Mary Schwanke [professor of biology] really stood out for me when I came to UMF to interview. I was impressed with her down-to-earth communication style with students. At my other school, you were just a number. You didn’t even write your name on tests. You wrote your Social Security number,” she said. “UMF was just the right size for me.”
For Sunny, choosing UMF allowed him to pursue two passions: studying the natural sciences and psychology, as well as managing sports information for the UMF Department of Athletics.
“I cannot say enough good things about the natural science professors at UMF. And Dr. Bert Jacobs in the psychology department was a big influence on my interest in psychiatry,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in the causes and treatments of depression and anxiety, and my courses in the sciences and psychology allowed me to explore the connections between biology and mental health.”
Even though Sunny represents the 18th generation of physicians in the Aslam family and Jessica has professed the goal of becoming a pediatrician since grade school, the couple explored divergent career paths before attending medical school. While Jessica finished her senior year at UMF, Sunny earned a master’s degree in athletic administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and was hired by USAToday.com to develop multimedia elements for the national newspaper’s Web site.
After graduating, Jessica joined Sunny in the Washington, D.C., area, working for Bode Technology Group as a DNA forensic analyst. Drawing upon lab skills learned at UMF, she became an expert with forensic analysis, as the firm identified the remains of 9/11 victims through DNA processing. Just prior to medical school, she also conducted classified DNA testing on biohazard agents as a senior microbiologist for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Aslams, who encourage students to enter the medical profession, frequently make campus-based presentations on a range of medical topics.