When Victor Anciano ’09 was preparing to apply to medical school, his Earlham professors encouraged him to think of prospective schools in two categories: those that know Earlham and those that he could help introduce to Earlham. They put him in touch with recent graduates who were attending schools that interested him, and they assured him they would write strong letters of recommendation to introduce him to programs where the faculty would not be familiar with the College.
Anciano, who earned his M.D. at Harvard Medical School at 2015, believes that Earlham was instrumental in helping him achieve his dream — getting into Harvard Medical School — one of the top ranked schools in the country.
“They did a great job of showcasing me as a student,” says Anciano. “And obviously, they prepared me to get a good score on my M.C.A.T. and do well at a top school. It was intimidating at first to think about going to a place like Harvard, but Peter Blair and Mike Deibel were very encouraging. They told me I could probably go wherever I wanted.”
A native of Venezuela, Anciano was a biochemistry major at Earlham and an all-conference player in soccer. He spent the year after his graduation working in a laboratory at Indiana University’s medical school in Indianapolis. He says his proximity to campus was a definite benefit during the application process.
“Peter and Mike were always willing to talk with me when I came back to campus,” he recalls. “One night, Mike even had me over to his house to do a mock interview, to prepare for an interview I had the next day.”
Anciano is now an orthopedic surgery resident at the University of Virginia. He hopes to follow a path that combines research, teaching and clinical practice. In addition to what he is learning in classroom and clinical settings, he knows that he will draw on a strong network of personal connections.
“I think one of the best things about Earlham’s program is that the professors are always available and ready to help. They are willing to interact with students outside the classroom. That aspect of Earlham has really helped me at Harvard,” says Anciano.
“One of my fears was that at a big university like Harvard, I might have fallen through the cracks. But all the professors and physicians I’ve worked with wanted to get to know me as a person. Earlham helped prepare me to make those connections.”