Members of the Ohio University Medical Mentoring Club gathered for the group’s first meeting of the year on Oct. 1.
Photographer: Kelly Irwin
First-year medical student mentor Mackenzie Marley (left) meets her mentee, Gianna Montague, at the club’s first meeting.
Photographer: Kelly Irwin
Anne Flower (right), a second-year medical student mentor, discusses medical school with her mentee, Hannah Brown.
Photographer: Kelly Irwin
Dec 8, 2014
By Megan Valentine
Any Ohio University student will say that finals week is one of the more stressful periods of their college experience. For students working toward a goal of pursuing a medical degree after completing their undergraduate coursework, preparing to apply and interview for medical school adds to the burden. A new club launched by students enrolled in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine serves as a resource to pre-medical undergraduates, helping them to prepare for medical school while succeeding in their undergraduate studies.
The Ohio University Medical Mentoring Club hosted its first-ever event last January and became an official OHIO student organization at the start of fall semester. The club’s mission is to connect pre-medical undergraduate students at both OHIO and partner universities with current Heritage College medical student mentors to help them prepare for, apply to, and get accepted into medical school – all while answering questions and addressing concerns that may arise throughout their undergraduate years.
“As an undergraduate student, I did not have a medical school associated with my university,” explained Kelly Irwin, a Heritage College student who co-founded and serves as president of OHIO’s Medical Mentoring Club. “Now, as a medical student at the Heritage College, there is this unique opportunity to connect with pre-med undergraduate students on the same campus who are going through the same thing I went through a few years ago. It only seemed logical to start this program to connect the two worlds and pay it forward.”
Less than one year since its founding, the club has already paired 86 undergraduate pre-medical students with mentors studying in the Heritage College. In addition, the club now fills the student mentoring component of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Early Assurance Program (EAP), which was launched during the 2013-14 academic year. Under the EAP, highly talented high school seniors interested in applying for undergraduate admission to OHIO and wanting to continue their post-undergraduate education at the Heritage College may apply for early admission to the medical school. Students admitted to the Heritage College through the EAP are provided access to additional resources throughout their undergraduate years.
Over the course of the last year, the Heritage College executed EAP partnerships with several Ohio universities, including OHIO, Ohio Dominican University, Baldwin-Wallace University, Otterbein University and John Carroll University. In addition to serving pre-medical undergraduates on the Athens Campus, the Medical Mentoring Club is also assisting undergraduates at Ohio Dominican and Otterbein universities, matching students on those campuses with student mentors studying at the Heritage College’s new location in Dublin, Ohio.
In addition to allowing pre-medical undergraduate students to interact with medical students, the Medical Mentoring Club also helps to facilitate opportunities for undergraduates to shadow physicians and speak with Heritage College admissions staff. Undergraduates being mentored through the club recently had an opportunity to participate in a Mock Interview Day, during which they received feedback from a medical student who had already successfully weathered the medical school application and interview process.
“The one-on-one attention that you get when you are matched with a medical student mentor is really priceless,” Irwin said. “It is someone to go to about anything, from what classes to take as an undergrad to preparing for a medical school interview.”
According to Irwin, during spring semester undergraduates participating in the club will attend presentations from admissions staff who will explain what they look for in a Heritage College applicant. Other mentoring events in the works include an osteopathic manipulative medicine demonstration, tours of the Heritage College, and a networking opportunity with osteopathic physicians at the Ohio Osteopathic Symposium in Columbus.
Irwin’s mentee, Charlie Davis, is one of the club’s first success stories. Davis completed his bachelor’s degree in biological science in the spring and has been accepted into the Heritage College Class of 2019. He currently serves as the assistant coordinator of OHIO’s biological sciences learning communities.
“Applying to medical school is a long and hard process, and it was nice having a mentor to turn to when I needed help,” Davis said. “You hear a lot of horror stories about how hard medical school is, and you start to second guess your decision. It was nice having Kelly to reassure me that I made the right choice.”
Davis noted that the Medical Mentoring Club was most helpful when he was applying for medical school and preparing for interviews.
“Kelly had been through it and told me exactly what to expect,” Davis said. “We did a few mock interviews the day before my real one, and it really helped prepare me. As someone who has been through the mentoring program, I would highly recommend it to any other pre-meds thinking about medical school.”
In addition to Irwin, the other Medical Mentoring Club officers include vice presidents and co-founders Nakul Bhardwaj and Kelly Hurless, secretary Rochelle Rennie and treasurer Morgan Werry.
For more information about the Ohio University Medical Mentoring Club, visit http://www.oucom.ohio.edu/studentgov/mentoring.htm.