Two Earlham College graduates from the Class of 2021 have become the first to enroll at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) as part of a new partnership and early acceptance program between the two institutions.
Matt Bushik from North Huntingdon, Pa., and Claire Cornwell from Paoli, Ind., were accepted into LECOM’s osteopathic medicine program as sophomores. Bushik will study at the Seton Hill campus in his hometown this fall. Cornwell has chosen to study at the institution’s Bradenton, Fla., campus.
“I am really blessed to have gained early acceptance to LECOM,” Cornwell said. “They offer specific learning pathways that are different from other medical schools that are more lecture-based. I think will help make me a better doctor. It’s just a perfect fit for me.
“I’m also excited to have palm trees in my backyard and live in a warmer climate,” she said. “Indiana has always been my home.”
Earlham’s Center for Global Health has forged partnerships with LECOM’s osteopathic medicine, dentistry and pharmacy programs, helping to further the College’s standing as a national leader for the percentage of its graduates that earn advance degrees, including the Ph.D. Earlham alumni have an 86 percent acceptance rate into medical school, nearly twice the national average.
Unlike traditional grad school programs, LECOM’s early admission program does not require students to take the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT, for admission. They instead look at college-entrance exam test scores, like the SAT or ACT, and have grade requirements for required undergraduate courses.
LECOM also gives students enrolling to their campuses a preview of its foundational 10-week anatomy course that all students complete before choosing a pathway to embark on for the rest of their studies. Coursework is organized into problem-based, lecture-based or self-directed study formats.
“This early acceptance program provides another access point for Earlham students to matriculate and excel in medical school,” said Peter Blair, the director of the Center for Global Health. “The Center for Global Health is thrilled that Matt and Claire will represent Earlham as the first student cohort at LECOM. They were both impressive academics and fervent learners who maximized their liberal arts experiences in and out of the classroom and laboratory. I am confident they will become successful physicians and productively serve their future clients and communities.”
Both graduates are aspiring dermatologists, and Bushik has also expressed an interest in emergency medicine.
“Knowing that I’m still several years out from residency, fellowship, or a specialty, I’m not sure where in medicine my heart will take me,” he said. “I’ll have to weigh my own interests as well as my family situation. As long as I’m doing something to help others, I’ll be content with my ultimate decision.”
Cornwell stated that she’s also open to finding new interests as she completes clinical rotations, the hands-on training that comes in the final years of a medical student’s education. “I’m definitely keeping my options open,” Cornwell said.
At Earlham, Bushik and Cornwell earned degrees in biochemistry and were student-athletes. Bushik played on the College’s golf program and Cornwell was a defensive specialist on the volleyball team. Cornwell also traveled to Sweden and South Africa on funded excursions supported by Earlham’s EPIC initiative to participate in independent research, service-learning projects and international athletic competition.
“I have nothing but great things to say about every professor I had,” Bushik said. “I have developed lifelong relationships with at least five or six of them. Even outside of the classroom, we were best friends. In terms of preparation, I don’t think there’s a better faculty in the sciences anywhere.”