Third-year Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine student Jeree Smith is passionate about becoming a physician and helping others.
“One of the things I love most is to help people reach their potential. It is so fulfilling,” said Smith, of Spencer, Okla. “As a first-generation college graduate, my family members were constant motivators. And a professor in my undergraduate studies became a mentor who encouraged and directed me on pursuing a career in medicine.”
Smith was one of several OSU-COM medical students who volunteered on Saturday at the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) conference at OSU Center for Health Sciences.
By sharing her journey to medical school, Smith hoped to inspire other minority students to pursue a career in medicine.
“I can give them advice based on firsthand experience. I want them to be able to imagine themselves right where I am today,” she said. “I chose OSU-COM because I believe in the osteopathic principles taught here and because of the university’s mission to serve the underserved population.”
About 120 college undergraduates from across the state attended the conference, a sizeable increase from last year’s 35 participants. The event targets minority students with an interest in pursuing medicine and provides information about entering OSU’s medical school and becoming a physician.
Participants examined a human heart, brain and lungs, listened to simulated heart and lung sounds and watched osteopathic manipulation demonstrations. They also toured campus, talked with medical students and physicians and learned how to navigate the medical school admissions process.
Jordan Jones, a first-year medical student from Tulsa, said she was excited to help out students who may feel that medical school is unattainable.
“I feel that it is very important to be here and share my perspective on why I chose OSU-COM,” she said. “I feel strongly about providing a helping hand to others. And I want prospective students to know that there is such a supportive network here and professors are committed to making sure everyone is successful.”
Jones took time out from studying for an exam in laboratory medicine to volunteer at the MAPS conference because she knows first-hand how challenging it can be to prepare for applying to medical school.
“That is how strongly I feel about giving others a hand up,” she said. “It is important that students interested in medicine see that medical school is an option for them.”
Marianna Abramson, a college student at Cameron University in Lawton, welcomed the opportunity to visit campus and learn more about OSU-COM.
“This really is a great experience. This is my first visit to campus and I like what I have seen,” she said. “I really like this conference and appreciate the opportunity to learn about OSU’s medical school.”
MAPS, an initiative of the Student National Medical Association, works to promote diversity in all aspects of medicine and patient care.