GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Six Grand Valley State University students have been given a
guaranteed spot at Michigan State University's College of Human
Medicine in the fall of 2010, provided they meet the academic
standards of the new joint program between the universities.
They are the
class of students in the Early Assurance Program, which was
announced last fall. The EAP reserves spaces for top GVSU pre-med
students who want to practice medicine in places where few doctors
The six students -- Elizabeth Fetzer of Belding, Alex Gilde of
McBain, Casey Key of Adrian, Bobbye Koning of White Cloud, Caleb
Ortega of Saginaw and Mitch Sydloski of Wyoming -- will begin a
pre-medicine program at GVSU this fall.
The following fall, three of the students will begin classes at
MSU's East Lansing campus. The others will take courses at the
College of Human Medicine's Secchia Center, now under construction
on Michigan Street along Grand Rapids' Medical Mile.
Students chosen for EAP meet rigorous academic standards but the
program also aims to find first-generation college students,
graduates from a high school where students come from families with
lower than average income, those eligible for low-income Pell
grants or students interested in an in-demand medical
A short biography of each of the students, provided by the
- Fetzer volunteers at Spectrum Health United Memorial Hospital
in Greenville. She also coaches the Belding High School girls'
indoor soccer team. She would like to be a pediatrician and hopes
to provide preventative and affordable health care for rural
- Gilde is a defensive linebacker for the GVSU football team.
He has twice been named to the GLIAC All-Academic Team. He would
like to become an orthopedic surgeon and return to his hometown
of McBain. "It's my dream to give back to my community as a
physician, as a volunteer at a low-income clinic, and as a
volunteer physician for my local high school sports teams," he
- Key is a certified nursing assistant and volunteers at an
Adrian nursing home. As president of Grand Valley Students for a
Peaceful Africa, he hopes to continue supporting underserved
people in East Africa. Inspired by his mentor, Dr. Paul Gietzen
of Adrian, Key said he hopes to establish the friendships that
only seem possible through a rural practice.
- Koning works part time as a nurse assistant at Spectrum
Health in Grand Rapids, and volunteers services to families who
have a child battling cancer or other life-threatening disease.
Raised in an underprivileged rural community, Koning said she
eventually wants to provide medical care for residents in similar
- Ortega is a grandson of a migrant worker. He would like to
serve the disadvantaged Latino community after completing medical
school. "My family history and the rise of poverty in my hometown
have provided me with an innate responsibility to reach out to
the underserved," he said.
- Sydloski works as a patient care assistant and lab assistant
at Saint Mary's Health Care in Grand Rapids. He also volunteers
at Guiding Light Mission, which sparked his interest in helping
the underserved. "Hearing these men's heartbreaking stories of
how they have lost their families to drugs or alcohol and how
they strive to get their life back is empowering," he said.