(ATHENS, Ohio—Oct. 31, 2014) ¬Taking part in a unique summer program
offered by Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic
Medicine helped one young Xenia woman win exactly the prize she had
her eyes on — acceptance as a medical student.
Nateka Faison, 21,
a senior majoring in biology at Xavier University in Cincinnati,
received her medical school acceptance in July, soon after she
completed a month-long stint in the Summer Scholars program at the
Heritage College’s Athens campus. While she was ready to apply
elsewhere if need be, Faison said the Heritage College had long been
her first choice.
“Basically, it was up to them to choose me,” she said. When she
learned by phone that she had made it, she recalled, “Oh gosh! I
don’t even know how to describe it … It was fun. I cried.”
The annual Heritage College Summer Scholars program, offered
since 1982, gives 22 undergraduate students from around Ohio and the
nation a taste of what it’s like to start medical school. In
addition to its educational value, the program also serves as an
important recruiting tool for the college.
This month, the Heritage College Office of Admissions began
accepting applications for next year’s Summer Scholar’s program.
Deadline for application is March 1, 2015; more information is
the Admissions website.
Summer Scholar participants go through the same kind of demanding
schedule of lectures and clinical work that a first-year student
would face at the Heritage College. They learn from medical school
faculty and upper-level medical students, with plenty of focus on
case-based problem solving and small-group/teamwork. Their regimen
includes courses and workshops on basic science, study skills and
time management, and research methods.
The program is open to rising college seniors or beyond who come
from either an under-represented population or from an educationally
or economically disadvantaged background.
The Summer Scholars program serves as one of the college’s most
important avenues for bringing in the diverse mix of students that
helps make it a dynamic learning environment.
“Embracing diversity in our student body is one of our most
fundamental values as a college,” said Heritage College Executive
Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O. “And the Summer Scholars program is one
of the most reliable recruiting tools we have for attracting a
remarkable, truly diverse group of students, year in and year out.”
Faison, a first-generation college student, said she was
particularly impressed by how her classmates were pulling together
to support each other in meeting the rigorous demands of the
program. “A lot of places you might get the sense that you’re doing
it alone,” she said. “But in Summer Scholars, everyone’s putting up
the good fight together, and helping each other through.”
Faison reported that her “absolute favorite part of the program”
was case-based learning, or CBL, which lets students hone their
skills on patient case studies. “By nature, the majority of the
program was typically academic: You sit in a lecture classroom with
your fellow scholars and learn about every ‘-ology’ imaginable,” she
said. “After every course, you study the material, and get tested on
it. CBL is the part of the entire experience that makes you feel
like you’re actually going to become a doctor.”
She said the same was true for the course in gross anatomy. “You
could come into the program without ever having taken anatomy, but
you have so much help to get through it,” Faison said. “As an
undergrad, I always heard about how difficult first-year gross
anatomy is, but I think Summer Scholars prepares you to succeed in
The 2014 Summer Scholars group cohort also got to know the local
community by volunteering at the annual Boogie on the Bricks
festival in June, helping to serve customers, assisting with
merchandise sales and pitching in to clean up the site afterwards.
“One of the great things is that we not only give the students a
great opportunity to get acclimated to the environment at the
Heritage College, w also get them out and engaged in the local
community as well,” said John Schriner, Ph.D., Heritage College
assistant dean of admissions.
With a slot in the Heritage College’s Class of 2019 now assured,
Faison plans to become one of the majority of Heritage College
graduates who go on to practice as much-needed primary care
physicians, possibly in the specialty of obstetrics/gynecology. “I’m
definitely doing primary care,” she said.
Note: A version of this story was published July 31 in the