Keep Calm and Get Into Med School

Whether you’re about to start high school or have recently graduated college, you’ve probably heard how important it is to plan ahead, especially if you’re looking to tack “M.D.” behind your name. Luckily, Newman University has no shortage of biology majors researching, dissecting and examining their way into the hearts of medical school admissions committees all over the U.S., and Newman student Gabe Stewart is no exception.

After watching his brother Cooper, a 2012 Newman grad, complete the pre-med program and enter medical school, Gabe decided to follow suit.  A rising senior from Belle Plaine, Kan., Gabe has already gained early admission into medical school through the competitive Kansas Scholars in Rural Health program. This program, out of the KU School of Medicine, encourages students from rural areas to return to those areas as primary care physicians.

“Before I shadowed for the first time, Cooper warned me that family medicine includes seeing many older patients and told me not to be discouraged if it wasn’t exciting, but I loved it,” he says. “For most of the older patients, going to the doctor was the highlight of their day, and I really enjoyed talking with them.”

As a first-year Newman student, Gabe heeded a few survival tips from his big brother, including where to sit in class.  “Cooper told me to take biology with Dr. Singh and sit in the first couple rows, and it really helped me during freshman year,” he recalls. “Dr. Singh got to know me really well and helped find places to volunteer and get shadowing experience, like the Guadalupe Clinic downtown.” As a sophomore, Gabe formed a strong bond with Dr. Casey McNeil, who coincidentally, will be joining him at the KU School of Medicine this fall. “I was the youngest student in his genetics class, so naturally, I was the butt of all his jokes,” he remembers. “He’s from Wellington, and I’m from Belle Plaine, so we shared similar, rural backgrounds. I went to him for help with all my classes, and he became a mentor for me. He also wrote me a letter of recommendation for medical school, but he had to get approval since he was applying simultaneously.”

The Newman University Medical Professions Club (NUMPC) also became an important outlet for Gabe as he prepared to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and began applying to medical schools. This popular campus club currently boasts over 200 students and hosts local medical professionals, graduate admissions representatives and recent Newman graduates on campus to connect students with mentors and resources as they look ahead to med school.

With the rising number of students graduating from Newman’s quality science programs, Newman is quickly becoming a pre-professional powerhouse in the state of Kansas. “Overall, we’ve got 17 former Newman students in medical schools right now,” reports Dr. David Shubert, dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies. “We are third in the state, behind KU and K-State.  For those applying to medical school in fall 2016, we’ve already had four students gain early admittance.”

Now that he’s locked-in on medical school, Gabe can enjoy his summer and last semester at Newman, before he graduates this December. “I’m a deejay in my off time, so maybe I’ll get a few events lined up on the weekends,” he hopes. “I’ve worked prom, car shows, and the Campus Activities Board hired me to play some music at the Spring Fling this year, so that was fun.”

He also logs community service hours as an ASC Community Leader Scholar, completing at least 45 hours of service each semester, participates in Campus Ministry as a server and Eucharistic Minister, and works in the residence halls as a resident assistant. “I’ve lived in nearly all of the residence halls, so next semester I can cross Fugate off the list,” he says, “but I still need to find a protégé to run the campus recycling program when I’m gone!”

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