100% Medical School Acceptance Rate

Southern Arkansas University’s Pre-Health Advisory Committee proudly announces that SAU has achieved 100 percent success on its medical school acceptance rate, with five students being accepted. Three Pre-Health Biology majors, Thomas “T.C.” Graham (of Magnolia), Katherine Pletcher (’21, of Magnolia), Cameron Nichols (’21, of Magnolia) as well as Agriculture major Jesse Tompkins (’21, of Taylor, Arkansas), will attend UAMS in Little Rock beginning this fall. Ashley Stewart (’20, of Lewisville, Arkansas) will attend the Edward Via School of Osteopathy in Monroe, Louisiana.

“These are exceptional students who demonstrated the work ethic, determination, and discipline to get the most out of their classes at SAU,” said Dr. Antoinette Odendaal, chair of the Committee and associate professor of biology and chemistry. “Their professors and peers couldn’t be more proud to see them become leaders in the medical field, and we look forward to hearing about their career adventures.”

Several SAU faculty commented on this remarkable group of pre-medical students. Dr. Jeff Miller, chair of Agriculture, said, “Jesse Tompkins is an engaging and studious young man who will excel at whatever he puts his mind to. We are delighted to see him graduate from the Ag program and attend medical school at UAMS.”

“Ashley Stewart has been an outstanding student in the biology program and was an integral part of the biology department as a student worker for a number of years,” said Dr. James Hyde, a neuroscientist at SAU who works closely with many pre-med students in his cell biology and neuroscience courses. His sentiment was echoed by many biology faculty.

Dr. Jeremy Chamberlain, who teaches many of the pre-med students in his Anatomy and Physiology courses, said it is rewarding “to see two incredibly hard-working, dedicated, and intelligent students like Katherine Pletcher and Cameron Nichols make it to the next level in their education and achieve their career goals. I am sure they will thrive in medical school, as they did in our courses at SAU. We are proud to send such compassionate and capable individuals to UAMS.”

Thomas “TC” Graham, who plans to attend UAMS this fall, has been a student leader as a Supplemental Instructor for several biology courses. Dr. Daniel McDermott, assistant professor of Biology, remarked that “Both in my Immunology and Microbiology courses, TC always had a fresh perspective on how ideas discussed in class would apply to real-world situations. We are confident that he will continue to take things forward and be a driving force in the medical field.”

The Biochemistry and Chemistry Department faculty was also pleased to see pre-med students enter the medical field. Dr. Gija Geme, professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, said, “These students were great scholarly examples to their peers even in their early years at SAU. Being a Pre-Health major is not always easy, but these students learned to adapt, change and succeed. I love to see our students develop into professional, successful people, no matter what field they choose to go into. I’m very proud of these students, and I know this is just beginning for them.”

The Pre-Health Advisory Committee helps advise students interested in the pre-health fields, including those studying to be medical doctors, physician assistants, dentists, veterinarians, occupational and physical therapists, optometrists, and other related professions. The Committee consists of SAU faculty in the Biology and Chemistry Departments who teach many of the upper-level classes taken by pre-health students. Members of the Pre-Health Advisory Committee include the chair, Dr. Antoinette Odendaal, Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Dr. Gija Geme, Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Daniel McDermott, Dr. Jeremy Chamberlain, Dr. James Hyde, and Dr. Abe Tucker, all faculty in the Biology Department.

For more information about SAU’s Pre-Health program, please contact ayodendaal@saumag.edu.

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