Ever since middle school Luke Sanders, a recent Newman biology graduate, has dreamt of being a surgeon.
Sanders is now on track to achieve those dreams. Entering his freshman year of college with extra credits from high school, he was prepared to graduate in three years. He is starting at Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (KansasCOM) in the fall.
He had many professors who he is grateful that were there along the way to help him achieve that goal.
“David Shubert was the first professor I met at Newman and offered me great advice for my pre-med journey, as well as Michael Bradley who wrote me a letter of recommendation. Jenna Persons introduced me to research that helped to strengthen my application. I also appreciate how Kelly McFall pushed me to take courses that I could discuss in interviews through the Honors Program,” said Sanders.
Bradley, associate professor of biology, explained that when faculty are asked to write a letter of recommendation, they ask the student to undergo a mock interview. This committee is to replicate what a med school interview would look and feel like. They do this for many students and if it’s successful, then they write them a letter of recommendation.
Sanders’ successful interview made it easy for faculty members to write a recommendation letter for the medical schools he applied to.
“I believe I can say that our committee considers all of the essential attributes that pre-health professional students require in order to be successful, and our track record of acceptances bears this out,” said Bradley.
Persons, assistant professor of biology, had Sanders in her classes since she arrived at Newman in the fall of 2020. Sanders worked on at least two independent research projects under Persons.
One was a fruit fly model to study the molecular basis of Huntington’s disease and the other studied the role of glucose and mitochondrial metabolism in regeneration. These research projects helped Sanders in his application process.
McFall, professor of history and director of the Honors program, also played a vital role in Sanders graduating early and getting into medical school.
“I work hard to get to know each Honors student as an individual and talk with them extensively about their goals for Newman and for life after graduation. We work together to identify classes and other experiences that will help prepare them to move forward in their job or future education. Sometimes this means diving further into a major or specialty. But it can also mean helping prepare not just for the job, but for the job, or med school, interview,” said McFall.
Having had Sanders in the program since his freshman year, McFall had many kind things to say about Sanders’ personality as well as his future.
“I’ve loved having Luke in the program. He’s quiet — but thoughtful and insightful. And he’s curious — willing or even eager to explore subjects, ideas or ways of thinking. He’ll make an excellent doctor. I’m looking forward to watching him make a difference for his patients and his community,” said McFall.
Newman University recently partnered with KansasCOM to take part in a program that allows students to get their undergrad and medical degree in seven years rather than eight. While Sanders is taking advantage of going to KansasCOM, he had already planned and put in the work to graduate in three years.
Sanders was accepted for the 2023 KansasCOM cohort out of 6,800 other applicants. He will be one of approximately 135 students in the 2023 cohort.
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