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Pre-Med Boot Camp Helps Ease Transition to Medical School

Web Premed Bootcamp 258
Camp made possible through Anderson University, AnMed and the South Carolina Area Health Consortium (AHEC)

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Anderson University continues to team up with AnMed and the South Carolina Area Health Consortium (AHEC), providing a camp that helps medical school-bound students while satisfying an ongoing need for physicians.  

AnMed Pre-Med Boot Camp was an intensive two weeks devoted to preparing students for the realities of medical school. The camp took place during May on the Anderson University campus and in the facilities of AnMed. While there are academic rigors to overcome, students often face financial hurdles. For this reason, the camp is offered at zero cost to participants.  

The Pre-Med Boot Camp offers ample opportunities to its participants, including shadowing experiences with AnMed medical professionals across many disciplines. Also, there were hands-on skill-based workshops offering experiences in reading EKGs, intubation, catheterization, joint injection, and working in the cadaver lab on the Anderson University campus—something rarely encountered outside medical school. At the camp were also sessions designed to help camp participants prepare for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) as well as become familiar with the medical schools in South Carolina and what’s involved in becoming a medical student (for example—how to interview). There were also discussion panels with physicians, current med school students, and representatives from the admissions committees from the four South Carolina medical schools. 

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Elizabeth Munteanu, a rising senior from Columbia, grew up volunteering in her hometown. A Biology major at the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences, Munteanu was involved the Midlands Youth Apprenticeship program. She saw the possibilities of working in healthcare and became a nurse assistant at Prisma.  

“I really just found a love for medicine and decided that this is the career I want to spend the rest of my life in,” Munteanu said. “I’ve had a couple of shadowing experiences. I’m interested in OB-GYN and interventional radiology—some of those specialties—but not dead set on one yet. Munteanu was inspired by the dedication of the AnMed physicians she encountered at the camp and commented, “I know I’m going to one day use these skills I’m learning in the workshops and get a head start on it as an undergraduate student before applying to medical school; It has been a real privilege to be able to do that.”   

“I think I’ve learned a lot and I can take a lot back to my peers; I think that’s the most meaningful thing to me,” said Alexis Day, a Biochemistry major in the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences who came to the camp from South Carolina State University. “And I think just learning that I can be in a clinical setting, I can do it because I’ve been exposed to it at this point.”  

Day volunteered in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia, helping individuals who have limited access to healthcare; She wants to be a part of a solution for them.  

“I’m interested in how I can change that dynamic or at least diversify the medical community and all that entails—that’s what interests me. I’ve always wanted to help people. I’ve always wanted to have a hands-on approach to medicine,” Day said.   

“It’s great to get all these perspectives of these different experts… you’re with all of these people who are from all of these different backgrounds and want the same thing,” said Peyton Lee, a rising senior from Easley in the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences.  

Lee, who is majoring in Biology with a Biomedical Science minor, said, “You’ll be doing a knee injection on a dummy… we’re learning about mitochondria and now here we are actually jumping into the feel of it. I think that exposure is really important, too, because in undergraduate work you really don’t get it unless you step out of your box. I feel like this program has made a bridge for those experiences.” 

Having parents who are doctors, Emma Vagnoni grew up around medicine. Vagnoni, a student from Anderson who is at the University of South Carolina majoring in biochemistry, also appreciates the opportunities to learn from faculty members as well as the physicians she’s shadowed with as she familiarized herself with various medical procedures.  

“When you realize you’re excited to go into the field and you’re excited to learn how to intubate or draw a suture or something like that, you realize that you’re on the right track,” said Kayla Adler, a rising senior from Mount Pleasant majoring in Exercise Science with a Public Health Minor at the University of South Carolina.  

Adler said she receives lots of email targeting pre-med bound students like herself, but she flagged the email about Anderson’s Pre-Med Boot Camp and applied. She loves that the camp allows her experiences with a variety of skill-based seminars. Adler also appreciates that the camp’s two-week format allowed her to still have a summer job as she prepares for her next steps towards med school. 

“You realize this program either confirms if you want to go into medicine… or other people are like ‘maybe not.’ Maybe this is their biggest introduction to the field and they feel like they would be happier in another healthcare setting. I think it’s been important in setting that foundation and exposing you to what the realities of medicine are to help you make that important decision,” Adler said. “I’ve also been excited about the community we get to build, coming from different parts of the state. There are so many different perspectives that you got to learn about, and also being surrounded by people who are like-minded and want the same things.” 

“The guidance has been so amazing,” said Sylvi Patel, a camp participant from the University of South Carolina. Patel remembers the compassionate care that physicians gave her grandfather during his illness.  

“When my grandpa was sick, it was so inspiring to watch and it sparked a desire to go into healthcare because I really like helping people,” Patel said. “When I got to my undergrad and took the classes, it just solidified it with all of the bio classes and psychology classes I took. It set in stone that this is what I want to do in my future.”    

A highlight for Patel was going through the different workshops.  

“I didn’t realize there were so many different aspects of medicine,” Patel said. “It helped me discover the different things that I could potentially go into.”  

The medical profession hits literally close to home for Alexis Burce, a camp participant From Lula, Georgia. A big influence for Burse, who is majoring in Biology at Erskine College, has been seeing her father serve as a paramedic.   

“Just getting to see how he worked on the front lines and then transitioned to the doctors for the rest of their care was what got me interested in being a physician specifically and then just seeing how physicians go above and beyond their scope of practice for patients,” said Burse. “The most helpful part for me has been the workshops, being around physicians—you can see what they do… The workshops teach you how to do that and go ahead and prepare you for that when you get to medical school.”   

Information about the Pre-Med Boot Camp and an application can be found online here. 

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