GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Six Grand Valley State University students have been given aguaranteed spot at Michigan State University's College of HumanMedicine in the fall of 2010, provided they meet the academicstandards of the new joint program between the universities.
They are the firstclass of students in the Early Assurance Program, which wasannounced last fall. The EAP reserves spaces for top GVSU pre-medstudents who want to practice medicine in places where few doctorsdo.
The six students -- Elizabeth Fetzer of Belding, Alex Gilde ofMcBain, Casey Key of Adrian, Bobbye Koning of White Cloud, CalebOrtega of Saginaw and Mitch Sydloski of Wyoming -- will begin apre-medicine program at GVSU this fall.
The following fall, three of the students will begin classes atMSU's East Lansing campus. The others will take courses at theCollege of Human Medicine's Secchia Center, now under constructionon Michigan Street along Grand Rapids' Medical Mile.
Students chosen for EAP meet rigorous academic standards but theprogram also aims to find first-generation college students,graduates from a high school where students come from families withlower than average income, those eligible for low-income Pellgrants or students interested in an in-demand medicalspecialty.
A short biography of each of the students, provided by theschools:
- 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 families.
- 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 said.
- 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 situations.
- 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.
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