WVSOM hosts virtual event for West Virginia’s college students

College students throughout the Mountain State learned about the process of applying to medical school when the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) hosted its first-ever West Virginia Virtual Pre-Med Conference, which took place Dec. 12.

The event, sponsored by the school’s Office of Admissions, invited students from West Virginia’s higher education institutions to attend a series of virtual presentations by WVSOM administrators, staff, current students and others. In all, 20 aspiring medical students participated, ranging from freshmen to graduate students.

Mike Peterson, D.O., FACEP, served as keynote speaker for the conference. A former uniformed motor officer with the California Highway Patrol, Peterson decided to become a physician after a high-speed chase with a suspect resulted in an accident that severed his right arm and nearly cost him his life. A lengthy hospital stay — and the respect Peterson found for the medical professionals who helped him recover — had a profound effect on his future plans.

Peterson, who went on to earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from WVSOM in 2008 and is now medical director for Charleston, W.Va.-based HealthNet Aeromedical Services, told the college students that success in medical school has more to do with drive and persistence than intellect.

“I grew up in law enforcement and never thought I’d set foot on a college campus,” Peterson said. “But when I was offered a second chance, I was determined to show the people who took care of me for 18 months that they didn’t waste their time. The biggest obstacles were my own attitude and lack of confidence: ‘People like me don’t become doctors. I’m just a cop.’ But I started gaining confidence because there were people who believed in me.”

Other conference presentations included a welcome from James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., WVSOM’s president; an overview of the metrics WVSOM looks for in prospective medical students by Craig Boisvert, D.O., the school’s vice president of academic affairs and dean; a presentation on undergraduate pre-medical advising by Darla Wise, Ph.D., of Concord University; a session on improving interview skills by Danny Seams, WVSOM’s assistant director of admissions; a question-and-answer session with WVSOM Class of 2023 students Lindsey Ray and Tylor Tabit; and medical school application advice from Ryan Boothe, a WVSOM admissions counselor who helped coordinate the conference.

While WVSOM’s Office of Admissions frequently hosts open houses in which college students visit the school’s Lewisburg campus in person or virtually, Boothe said this was the first event that focused exclusively on students at West Virginia’s colleges.

“We have a lot of events for anybody who is looking to apply to medical school. We invite them to campus, or, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we use a virtual platform,” Boothe said. “But where the goal of an open house is to showcase our campus and our program, this was more about preparing students for the application process.”

Date Added: 
Thursday, January 7, 2021
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