Meet our Ambassadors

Meet our Ambassadors

Jacob Matthews - Class of 2017

Jacob Matthews, Class of 2017, Undergraduate Institution: Mercer University, Undergraduate program of study: Biochemistry

What extracurricular activities are you involved in at MUSM?

At MUSM it is easy to be involved in a number of extracurricular activities to round out your days of studying. I personally love to play intramurals with my classmates, especially basketball and softball. These events do not take up too much time and are a great way to build comradery with my fellow medical students. Outside of sports I enjoy my roles of helping run the Christian Medical Association and Orthopedics Interest groups which meet periodically throughout the semester. In addition, there are plenty of service projects led by medical students to better the local communities.

What do you like most about living in Macon? 

My time in Macon has been quite rewarding. Macon is just big enough to offer that city charm, yet small enough to where you do not have to plan your day around rush hour traffic. A budding project, called the College Hill Alliance, is currently underway that aims to revitalize the surrounding areas near campus by bringing in new housing, shops and entertainment. As a whole, Macon also offers a vast selection of local restaurants that offer unique menus that I periodically explore. People are friendly here and I have built some great relationships along the way. 

Who has been the most helpful in medical school?

Medical school can be stressful at times and it is important to have a social network to rely on in those times of need. My family has been that foundation through the ups and downs along the way. They have been instrumental in my development and continue to be in medical school. I can always count on them to bring perspective to any situation. If I ever need direction with school related matters I know my peers and faculty are there to help. MUSM makes relationships a priority and a team centered approach can be found throughout the curriculum.

How have you adjusted to Problem-Based Learning?

Like most students entering MUSM, Problem-Based Learning was an entirely new experience. There is an obvious learning curve early on as the student's role expanded to include being the teacher on a regular basis for others. Although it requires a little more work upfront, I do believe that the information is absorbed on a much deeper level versus passive learning. The tutors for each group understand this learning curve and are very versed in helping students find good study strategies. One study habit that I employ is to treat my studying at school as if it were a full-time job. I aim to study from 9 am to 5 pm during weekdays at school while supplementing with various study sessions at local coffee shops or my apartment. While everyone's personalities are different, MUSM invites the students to make their own study priorities and goals throughout the year.

 

Leland C. McCluskey - Class of 2017

What extracurricular activities are you involved in at MUSM?Leland C. McCluskey, Class of 2017, Undergraduate Institution: UGA, Undergraduate program of study: B.S. Biology

I am involved in SPIN (Surgery for People in Need), Intramural sports such as flag football and softball, and several interest groups such as CMDA, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Surgery. I am the Chairman of Student Ambassadors and President of Orthopedic Surgery Interest group.

What advice can you provide a student interested in medical school? Also, how can they make the most of their time off?  

The best advice I can give is to really take the time to study for the MCAT, you do NOT want to take that test twice. Other than that, think outside the box on how you can get some experience that sets you apart from your peers. I worked on an ambulance during my time off, and gained some great clinically relevant experience in a high-intensity setting.  

What do you like most about living in Macon?  

Macon has been a great place to go to medical school. First of all, it is close to everything because it is right in the middle of the state. I can get to the Atlanta airport, Athens for a football game, or Columbus to visit my parents all in under 2 hrs. The Macon medical community seems to be very receptive to Mercer students, and includes us in many activities such as the Bibb County Medical Society. There are some great restaurants in Macon and the music scene rivals that of any other college town. I also love being in Macon because you have access to all of the amenities that Mercer University has to offer, such as the gym, pool, libraries, etc.

Who has been the most helpful in medical school? 

One of the great things about Mercer is that the entire class helps each other out. If I have a question about something, I can ask some of my classmates and they can help me figure it out. Also, when classmates ask me questions, it tests my knowledge and allows me to understand where I need to focus my studies. Everyone from the professors down to the janitorial staff are here to help you in any way possible.  

How have you adjusted to Problem-Based Learning? 

The biggest adjustment for me was coming from a large institution like UGA to a smaller school where the professors are always available for questions and enjoy sitting down and helping you figure things out. I was nervous about being in a small group at first, but you quickly get over the fear of being wrong. No one judges you for asking questions or being incorrect; because chances are that another student had the same question or misunderstanding and was afraid to ask about it. Not having as many lectures was also an adjustment for me, but my study style is to read and take notes from the text, so not having lectures just gives me more study time, which is more valuable than gold in medical school. The few lectures we do have are supplemental and optional. They serve as an opportunity to clear up important points that are difficult concepts to master.

Taylor Bergman -  Class of 2017

What extracurricular activities are you involved in at MUSM? Taylor Bergmam, Class of 2017, Undergraduate Institution: University of Georgia, Undergraduate program of study: Terry Business School: Bachelor’s in Banking and Finance
Social Chair, Ambassador, Snack Attack! (DISC Project), Give a Bear Change a Life (Vice President), Medical Mission Trip to Honduras, Interest Groups (Internal Medicine, Surgery, MerServes), Intramurals

What advice can you provide a student interested in medical school? Also, how can they make the most of their time off?
If you find yourself interested in medical school, I would suggest not wasting any time investigating that desire and making sure it’s the right path for you. It is important to start preparing your resume early and striving toward getting the grades and MCAT score needed to become a medical student. It is a fun, interesting, and rewarding career path. But it is a ton of work, and one needs to be sure that they are in this because they are passionate about helping people, and not for the money or because their parents were physicians before them. Shadow physicians, volunteer at hospitals, and try to find a part time job in a clinical setting if you can.

 

 

What do you like most about living in Macon?
Macon is the perfect town for a medical student. The nightlife, restaurants, and music venues are great. It is relatively small geographically as well, which is convenient for a med student who needs to spend less time on the roads and more time in the library. Our campus, teaching hospital, and downtown are all within five minutes of each other.

Who has been the most helpful in medical school?
The class above your own. By far. They are a vital resource for advice, hints, and support when you need it. The family atmosphere within MUSM is unrivaled. I have never felt like I was bothering a fellow student when I needed to ask them for some wisdom.

How have you adjusted to Problem-Based Learning? 

There is an adjustment period. It is a completely different method of studying than anything you have experienced in the past. Additionally, adjusting to the lifestyle of a medical student in general (as far as how time consuming it is) was difficult for everyone in my class. However, we all pulled through and are now enjoying the efficiency with which we study, and how well we are learning the material.

Leslie Hilding - Class of 2017Class of 2016 Undergraduate Institution: Mercer University Undergraduate program of study: B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

What extracurricular activities are you involved in at MUSM?

MUSM has many opportunities to incorporate passion for medicine with other interests. I am involved in various interest groups such as Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, which allow us to talk to other peers interested in these areas. We also hear personal stories and receive advice from physicians.

I love that we have intramurals at MUSM. I play flag football (champs!), soccer (finalists), basketball, and softball (champs!). It's a great way to make friends with your classmates and upperclassman while playing as a team.

I serve as secretary for the Christian Medical Association. This is a wonderful way to have fellowship during the week and redirect any stressor back to faith and my core foundation. I am currently treasurer for the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA). Additionally, I am honored to be a student ambassador to assist prospective students on their interview day.

Lastly, I mentor two Mercer undergraduate students in the Guaranteed Admission Program. I provide an inside look into a med student's life and gladly give advice for their future in medicine as well as surviving undergrad.

What advice can you provide a student interested in medical school?

It is never too early to investigate the medical field! My biggest piece of advice is to shadow physicians in various specialties. Shadowing will enlighten you; it will allow you to see various procedures and patient encounters to not only ensure medicine is an interest but to also increase your medical exposure. Immerse yourself in medicine and explore all venues and careers to make sure becoming a physician is what you truly want to pursue. I also suggest volunteering with an organization of interest and sticking with it. I was dedicated to being a mentor in the Big Brother Big Sister Program in an underserved school throughout my 4 years of undergraduate work. From that, I found other volunteer opportunities to help others. Also, volunteer in a medical setting. Volunteering in the ER was one of my most memorable experiences. Lastly, try to talk to a medical student to get their perspective on their experience, challenges, and rewards.

What do you like most about living in Macon?

I really enjoy the small town feeling that Macon and the university setting provide. This is my 6th year living in Macon and I have seen it change so much. The city and university are working together with NewTownMacon to transform downtown into a college and family friendly atmosphere. Bike ramps are very common throughout the area as well as safe sidewalks to accommodate runners. I've also noticed more running races in the area now. Festivals and concerts such as the Cherry Blossom Festival, provide entertainment and fun throughout the year. The delicious local restaurants are a great place to hang out with friends for a study break. There are also free concerts in the parks for families and locals to come out and enjoy. Macon is growing rapidly and is accommodating to young professionals and students. I am excited to see what other changes are in store!

Who has been the most helpful in medical school?

My peers and the faculty have truly been a resounding comfort. I have never experienced anything like the unity we have at MUSM. We are each other's biggest supporters and friends. We are eager to help one another and share any tools we have. We are all experiencing this together and that provides a special bond among us. The Problem Based Learning (PBL) process facilitates the tight-knit bond we have and I feel no other medical school offers an environment of constant support such as this. Secondly, the faculty and staff at MUSM are phenomenal! PBL allows you to get to know your tutor well and utilize them as a resource. The faculty are more than willing to help us with any concerns we might have with the content. There is an open door policy at Mercer. The professors go above and beyond to be available to us and are very approachable, knowledgeable, and friendly.

How have you adjusted to Problem Based Learning (PBL)?

It took a little while to adjust to PBL. Traditionally, undergrad institutions and all prior learning is strictly lecture based. I developed some skills for PBL previously at Mercer University by researching in a lab for 4 years. I had to research my topic and learn the science behind my project on an individual basis in addition to setting time frames and goals to reach my deadline, which is very similar to PBL. You set your own reading pace and how much you wish to accomplish on a daily basis. Tutorials help guide your focus. I always utilize tutorials and prepare in advance which has been beneficial. PBL allows me to identify my strengths and weaknesses. The group process really facilitates instilling a sense of unity in that we help one another understand the information relevant to the case and phase. We discuss our struggles with a topic or concept and help one another. Additionally, I allowed flexibility in my study technique. I knew this was a new way of learning information and I explored different methods until I found a study method that complimented my learning style and went along with success in PBL.

Jennifer Anhut - Class of 2017Jennifer Anhut, Class of 2017, Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame, Undergraduate program of study: Biology, Spanish

What extracurricular activities are you involved in at MUSM?

As our class's secretary, I try to keep our class as organized as I can.Medical school is busy, and our ambitious class is always planning new events, so I enjoy the challenge of updating our calendar and maintaining communication among my classmates.Iam an Ambassador, VP of the Ethics Club, a member of the Financial Aid Advisory Committee, and an enthusiastic intramural volleyball teammate.I am also a member of several interest groups: CMA, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, and Surgery.

What advice can you provide a student interested in medical school?  Also, how can they make the most of their time off?

Ask a lot of questions, and obtain as much clinical experience as possible!I took a gap year between undergrad and MUSM to work as a medical assistant.Aside from the extra time I enjoyed with my family and the lack of homework, the practical knowledge that I g

ained during that year has helped me tremendously in medical school and strengthened my desire to become a physician.I would advise any potential applicant to find some sort of clinical experience, during undergrad or beyond, to gain exposure to the lifestyle of a doctor and to the practice of medicine.

What do you like most about living in Macon?

Macon is smaller than my hometown of Atlanta, but I definitely don't miss the traffic!I have everything that I need in the community, and it is only about ninety minutes away from home.The people in general here are so wonderfully hospitable and friendly.The employees at my local grocery store have even gotten to know me and always seem to brighten my day.MCCG, the second-largest hospital in Georgia, is right in our backyard and is a great resource

for students.Macon also has a very close-knit medical community, many members of which are Mercer graduates, providing numerous opportunities for networking and shadowing.The area is growing, so there is always something fun going on!Members of our class have attended concerts, festivals, farmers markets, and other Macon events together and had a great time.

Who has been the most helpful in medical school?

My family and close friends have been incredibly supportive of my journey, and on a day to day basis, I couldn't do without my classmates.We are a tight-knit group that supports and encourages one another to accomplish our goals and become the best physicians we can be.The faculty members are also very approachable and willing to assist us in any way that they can.The collaborative environment of MUSM is a unique quality that makes Mercer feel like home.