A full ride to a top medical school

Eli Darnell ’11 is pursuing a career in medicine.

Darnell will begin medical school at the University of Chicago this fall. He received multiple acceptances to top medical schools, and several merit scholarships, including a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Chicago.

“I have spent the past three years working in a translational research lab studying the genomics behind asthma, and this coming fall I will start medical school,” says Darnell, lab manager in charge of logistics at the Woodruff Laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco.

“I plan on continuing to do research throughout my medical training, and I hope to eventually run my own research lab while practicing clinical medicine in an academic setting,” he says. “My success is in a large part due to the help I received from Mike Deibel, Peter Blair and Bill Harvey on the Pre-Health Committee, as well as the mentorship and guidance I received from Bob Rosenberg, John Iverson and Alice Shrock. I believe the individual attention that students receive from Earlham professors is one of the best aspects of the school.”

He also credits his mentors at Earlham with helping him develop his interests and figure out a career path.

“Once I had decided to apply to medial schools, the Earlham Pre-Health Committee was extremely helpful in giving me advice on when to take the MCAT, how to shape my application and which schools to apply to,” he explains. “The level of support from advisors at Earlham really is a unique benefit of the school. I currently work with several graduates from UC Berkeley, a school with a large pre-medical program, and they did not receive nearly the same level of support as I did when preparing their applications.”

The value of the liberal arts

Darnell says he encourages a liberal arts education to undergraduates.

“I believe there is great value in having a variety of experiences as an undergraduate because you never know what will catch your interest,” he says and admits that one of his favorite classes at Earlham was ceramics.

Most careers, he says, involve a variety of skills, and at Earlham, he was able to pursue a variety of interests.

During his junior year at Earlham, Darnell went on the New Zealand study-abroad program.

“This was an amazing experience that ultimately shaped the way I view the world and certainly influenced my decision to go into medicine,” he says.

He also played on Earlham’s men’s Ultimate Frisbee team for four years and worked at the Joseph Moore Museum.

“Playing ultimate connected me with the well-being of my body, and working with a team helped me realize that living and working in a strong community is important to me,” he says. “Both of these things ultimately guided me toward a career in medicine.

“Working at the Joseph Moore Museum helped me develop a love for working with living organisms. I got to do amazing things here: assemble a skeleton of a sabre-toothed tiger, lead museum tours to elementary school classes and use Earlham’s XRF to test old museum specimens for heavy metals. I learned a variety of skills working at the JMM, and as one of my first jobs, it prepared me for the realities of work after college.”

Eli Darnell
Eli Darnell 2011

Hometown: Chapel Hill, N.C.

Major at Earlham: biochemistry

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