AU, AnMed Team Up for Pre-Med Boot Camp
The 2023 Pre-Med Boot Camp took place May 15-26 at Anderson University. AnMed physicians and faculty from the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences and the Anderson University College of Health Professions conducted the camp.
Students from Anderson University and eight other institutions spent two weeks learning through shadowing experiences, workshops and sessions designed to familiarize students with the medical schools in South Carolina and what’s involved in becoming a medical student.
Camp participants experienced real-life scenarios in the Anderson University Center for Medical Simulations and shadowing physicians at AnMed. They were also able to work in Anderson University’s Cadaver Lab—the only cadaver lab for undergraduates in South Carolina—something usually not seen before medical school. The workshop is designed to bring students up to speed on what to expect when preparing for medical school—even how to face medical school interviews with confidence.
The pre-med boot camp is free for all participants, with the exception of a small fee to stay in a private room.
“Pre-Med Boot Camp offers a wonderful opportunity for Upstate South Carolina university pre-medical students to better understand the complex process for acceptance to one of our four excellent SC medical schools,” said Dr. Stoney Abercrombie, founding director of medical education at AnMed. “Each student receives valuable hands-on experiences that will enhance their acceptance rates to medical school. Working with AnMed and Anderson University with financial support by Upstate AHEC provides a top-notch program that I am excited to be part of.”
“I love that both Anderson University and AnMed value preparing the next generation of health care providers and are willing to put a lot of time and effort into this experience,” said Dr. Carrie Koenigstein, associate dean of the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences.
“It's been a great opportunity for us to prepare as pre-med students, just getting good experiences—not only in the hospitals, but prepping for interviews,” said Abigail Broom, an Anderson University student from Pickens, South Carolina. Going on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic to do health screening and testing sparked in Broom an interest in medicine. Watching her sister go through a serious medical emergency took her interest a step further.
“I've shadowed with speech pathology and radiology, and also in the emergency department. And those are all very unique experiences that have really expanded my view for medicine,” Broom said. “The collaboration and intensity of the medical field is very well displayed in what we're doing for these two weeks.”
Noah Tamez of Fort Mill, South Carolina, has been involved in research at the Anderson University Center for Cancer Research and worked in AnMed’s emergency room. Tamez, a recent Anderson University graduate, feels blessed to have the opportunity to go through the camp. He is considering becoming a surgeon and is also drawn to emergency medicine.
“You don't really find this (Boot Camp) at other schools or anywhere else, and it's amazing because they genuinely want you to succeed,“ Tamez said. “I think this is just something that's fantastic in that we didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for it because some of us are not able to.”
Camp participant Stembile Chikoore became interested in medicine when observing a family friend’s treatment in the burn unit of a hospital in a small city in Zimbabwe. Chikoore has several family members in healthcare—both in her native Zimbabwe and in the U.S. As she decides on a medical specialty, Chikoore loves how the camp at Anderson University has exposed her to many possibilities.
“It's one thing to read something on the Internet as to what I am supposed to do or what I'm going to be exposed to in medical school, but actually going through it with other people who are my age or getting into medical school. I think it has been very exciting,” Chikoore said. “My highlights would have to be the simulation labs… we were dealing with a (dementia) patient... It was challenging because I was in the first group to go and try to assess the situation and deal with it. It was very challenging, but I learned a lot just about how to communicate.”
Sydney Davis, a senior at Anderson University majoring in Biochemistry, has always loved science and while in high school felt led to a career in medicine. Working as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) at a hospital in her hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina, Davis observed how doctors interacted with patients and saw herself doing that someday.
She feels that the camp has helped her build confidence and gain focus. Having already taken the MCAT, Davis is in the process of applying for early decision to a medical school whose specialty is Osteopathic Medicine.
“They want to help us get to where they are. I think for me, one of the most interesting things I've done is shadow an endocrinologist. I think I want to go into primary care, but the field of endocrinology is still very interesting to me,” Davis said.
“It’s been a really good experience… I’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned to do spinal taps and we did these SIM trainings where we ran code on a dummy,” said camp participant Matt Monaghan. Monaghan and others added that they benefited from simulated training where Dr. Cindy Cross, associate dean of the College of Health Professions, chief nursing administrator and associate professor, acted as a dementia patient.
At first, Andrew Polatty was studying Pre-Pharmacy but then was drawn into studying biology and chemistry with an eye on a future in medical school. A favorite part of the camp for him has been shadowing a family medicine physician.
“I watched their patient interactions and how they talk to people, how they interacted with their supervisor attending, how they interacted with the nurses and everything. He was so open with me and answered all my questions, was very, like, understanding everything that went on,” said Polatty, noting that he’s also interested in medical research.
Dr. Koenigstein, continued, “I’ve had some amazing mentors in my own life who prepared me for my calling as a professor, and I love being able to serve as a mentor for these very intelligent and motivated students who are going to be amazing physicians.”