Four students have started their senior year knowing they’ve been accepted to medical school.

As juniors, Alison Sansone, Amanda Kington, Megan Hooks and Regan Van Metre applied and were accepted to the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville through the CU/USCSOMG Early Assurance Program in its pilot year.

The USC School of Medicine Greenville, founded in 2010, is a four-year medical school located at the heart of Greenville Health System, the region’s largest care provider.

“This program is another example of the strong health education collaboration between Clemson, Greenville Health System and the USC School of Medicine Greenville,” said Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, Clemson’s Associate Vice President of Health Research. “We’re so pleased we could have this unique opportunity to recognize our outstanding students.”

Up to five students will be accepted each year pending their Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores.

The program was initiated through collaborative efforts of USC School of Medicine Greenville and Clemson faculty including Sherrill, Kristin Goodenow, an academic advisor for College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. and Jessica Owens, Director of Health Professions Advising.

“It has been a joy to work alongside the Office of Admissions in Greenville to establish this program at Clemson,” Owens said. “They continue to demonstrate their investment in this partnership and our students, and I look forward to seeing this program grow in the years to come.”

The program allows students to get a jump start on their post-collegiate plans, something these seniors are excited about.

Amanda Kington, a senior biological sciences major, was a student in the first cohort of the Clemson University and USC School of Medicine Greenville Early Assurance Program.

Amanda Kington is a senior biological sciences major at Clemson.
Image Credit: Clemson University

“To me, it means I’ll be able to do what I’ve always wanted to do,” Kington said. “Now I know it’s a fact: I will become a doctor.”

The Lexington native is a biological sciences major. She fell in love with being a physician in a hospital after her internship at a Veterans Affairs Clinic.

“I love the contact with people and that I can impact people’s lives,” she said.

After medical school, she plans to be a physician specializing in either cardiothoracic or trauma surgery.

Alison Sansone, a senior biological sciences major, was a student in the first cohort of the Clemson University and USC School of Medicine Greenville Early Assurance Program.

Alison Sansone is a senior biological sciences major at Clemson.
Image Credit: Clemson University

Alison Sansone, a biological science major from Maryland, has been interested in a medical career since she was little. But now, she has a clearer vision of what she wants to do after she interned at an OBGYN and pediatric practice. She said she wants to specialize in either of those fields.

“I like fields that have long-term patient care and the ability to follow a patient through their lives,” the Maryland native said.

Megan Hooks, a senior health science major, was a student in the first cohort of the Clemson University and USC School of Medicine Greenville Early Assurance Program.

Megan Hooks is a senior health science major at Clemson.
Image Credit: Clemson University

Megan Hooks, a health science major from Columbia, wants to be a physician in primary care, specializing in pediatrics or developmental pediatrics.

She’s expanded her options after working with The Early Autism Project for the past two years. However, she’s known that she wanted to be a doctor since she participated in a medical mission trip to Costa Rica a couple of years ago.

“When I went on a medical mission trip to Costa Rica, we could only treat people who were there for an acute illness, such as a cold. If they were there for a chronic illness we couldn’t do anything,” Hooks said. “And that’s when I realized I wanted to be able to tell them things that they could do when they went home to help them in any way. I knew that becoming a doctor was what I needed to do.”

Regan Van Metre, a senior bioengineering major, was a student in the first cohort of the Clemson University and USC School of Medicine Greenville Early Assurance Program.

Regan Van Metre is a senior bioengineering major at Clemson.
Image Credit: Clemson University

For Regan Van Metre, a bioengineering major from Charleston, medical school wasn’t in her life plan until after she interned with Greenville Health System (GHS) just before the start of her junior year.

“I was thinking about going into bioengineering and industry, but then I did an internship at GHS, that was kind of clinical engineering,” Van Metre said. “I got to see both sides of it and I realized I wanted to be on the other side of the collaboration between the engineers and the doctors.”

Her internship exposed her to many options to explore in medical school, so she is keeping an open mind about what field to specialize in.

“I want to be the best doctor I can be: that’s my plan right now,” she said.

For these young women, taking this opportunity was a no-brainer. Once they decided on medical school, they knew that they wanted to go to the USC Medical School of Medicine Greenville.

“I’m so glad they are doing a program like this so people can be geared to that idea of applying to medical school earlier, and it rewards people who already know that’s the path for them,” Sansone said.

The process is competitive, as students go through an interview and two rounds of applications, with the first round being reviewed by a committee of Clemson and USC School of Medicine Greenville faculty.

But the four seniors advise other students who are interested, to get involved in college with a full course load, and various leadership and internship opportunities. But most importantly, they advise students to not doubt themselves and to take advantage of this program if they are interested in medical school.

For more information visit, http://www.clemson.edu/science/departments/pre-health/current-students/EAP/index.html. Students with questions can email Owens at dean4@clemson.edu.