Donor support of UM-Dearborn undergraduates sets path to medical school

July 25, 2018

Experiences, faculty inspire students to pursue careers in medicine

Victors for UM-Dearborn
Victors for UM-Dearborn
Mustafa Polat ('17 B.S.) (left), Ryan Kelly ('17 B.S.), Rima Rida ('14 B.S.)

At a special ceremony later this month, Ryan Kelly (’17 B.S.) will proudly don a white coat emblazoned with a Wayne State University Medical School patch, symbolic of dedication to patient care in his chosen path as a medical student.

The coat also represents the hard work, dedication, and perseverance that Kelly put in as an undergraduate at UM-Dearborn, preparing for his further studies.

Kelly certainly benefited from small classes, engaged professors, and encouraging classmates. But he also received very special, additional support—a CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship.

“My scholarship greatly aided myself and my family financially, of course, but even more so it connected me with many wonderful people whose support and kind words helped me through a difficult time,” said Kelly, whose father was battling health issues at the time. “I cannot express how grateful I am for the generous support of the donors.”

IMPACT talked with Kelly and several other medical students whose support from donors while they were undergraduates at UM-Dearborn helped them prepare for and pursue their dreams of medical school.

Ryan Kelly

Victors for UM-Dearborn
Victors for UM-Dearborn
Ryan Kelly ('17 B.S.)

Which medical school are you attending?

Wayne State University School of Medicine, Class of 2022

Specialty

I am very interested in ophthalmology. Ophthalmology is somewhat unique in that it is a surgical specialty that also is very involved clinically. I would get to have an immediate impact on patients’ quality of life and be afforded the opportunity to care for them for many years.

What about your UM-Dearborn education inspired you to pursue medicine? Best things about UM-Dearborn education? Most influential faculty member, great campus experience, etc.

The smaller class sizes at UM-Dearborn allowed me to dive head first into each and every subject I took with the full support of my professors. Because of this, I was able to gain valuable perspectives, insight, and support from some of the most knowledgeable leaders in their respective fields. Additionally, I was able to form some close relationships with professors that I hope will last long after I finish my education. In my sophomore year, I took a philosophy class with Dr. Daniel Yeakel entitled “Critical Thinking.” I have since held that this was one of the most valuable experiences I have had at UM-Dearborn, as Dr. Yeakel challenged me, as he does all of his students, to look at the world much differently than I had previously. His instruction and support changed the way I approach a great many things, including medicine. Furthermore, the support I received from Dr. Matthew Heinicke both inside the classroom and as a member of his lab was absolutely incredible. Dr. Heinicke’s calm demeanor and trust in his students helped me to work through many challenges and strengthened my confidence.

What did it mean to have donor support when you were at UM-Dearborn?

I cannot express how grateful I am for the generous support of the donors of the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship. At the time I received my scholarship, I was in the midst of assisting my father through some very serious health issues. The stress on my family, my father, and myself, compounded with the pressures of work, classes, and athletics, was greatly affecting me. My scholarship greatly aided myself and my family financially, of course, but even more so it connected me with many wonderful people whose support and kind words helped me through a difficult time.

My time at UM-Dearborn was absolutely wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so happy that I was able to meet so many remarkable people, and to have had the support that I did through the CASL Alumni Affiliate Scholarship.

Rima Rida

Rima Rida
Rima Rida
Rima Rida ('14 B.S.)

Which medical school are you attending?

Oakland University's William Beaumont School of Medicine, Class of 2019

Specialty major/practice area

Obstetrics and gynecology

What about your UM-Dearborn education inspired you to pursue medicine?

With a major in biology and a minor in psychology, my undergraduate education allowed me to appreciate the sciences in a way I never thought possible. My professors were an integral part of my success at UM-Dearborn. They ingrained in me proper study habits that have followed me into my last year of medical school. My professors gave me the fundamental knowledge I needed to carry me through my extended education. Not only were my professors motivating, my peers helped play a large part in my decision to further my education. When a university surrounds you with such an excellent student body, there is no limit to the amount you can achieve.

Best things about UM-Dearborn education? Most influential faculty member, great campus experience, etc.

The best thing about UM-Dearborn is that the learning does not end in the classroom. You have countless opportunities to get involved on campus and in the greater community which helps you grow as an individual. I was fortunate enough to be involved in many clubs and organizations, which allowed me to grow as a person, not only as an applicant for medical school. These organizations expose you to many different experiences and introduce you to a variety of people that you will undoubtably look up to in the future.

What did it mean to have donor support when you were at UM-Dearborn?

Having a donor support me at UM-Dearborn made me feel like I had another kind and generous person supporting me through my years of education. It is also inspiring to know that a stranger was motivated enough to donate to the university and this inspires me to do the same in the future.

Muhammad Osto

Victors for UM-Dearborn
Victors for UM-Dearborn
Muhammad Osto ('18 B.S.)

Which medical school are you attending?

Wayne State University School of Medicine, Class of 2022

Specialty

I haven’t chosen a specialty or focus as of yet. I am open to pursuing surgical or non-surgical specialties. Either way I want to provide excellent care to my patients.

What about your UM-Dearborn education inspired you to pursue medicine?

Dearborn is a melting pot of people with diverse cultures, ethnicities, experiences, and passions. Here, I truly improved my ability to collaborate by working with other students, alumni, and faculty for the student organizations I lead. I honed my talent to teach and mentor by interacting with such diverse individuals, which will help me educate and empower my patients and students alike. My experiences at UM-Dearborn solidified my desire to pursue medicine as I saw the variety of ways I can serve through a career in medicine, whether it is through research, mentoring, volunteering, or teaching all which I witnessed at UM-Dearborn.

Best things about UM-Dearborn education? Most influential faculty member, great campus experience, etc.

There were several great things about receiving my undergraduate education at UM-Dearborn. My most favorite aspect and the most valuable asset that the UM-Dearborn holds over most other schools is the unique attention that each student gets from their professors, advisors, and counselors. There are several faculty members that positively influenced me, helped and nurtured me throughout the process, it would be unfair to pick one over the other. However, I do want to say that Ms. Prokopow, our Pre-Health Advisor was a tremendous help to me and other students! Lastly, UM-Dearborn provides countless opportunities to conduct research, to teach, to volunteer, or to get involved on campus through student organizations. If I had to do go back in time, and do my undergrad all over again, it would be at UM-Dearborn.

What did it mean to have donor support when you were at UM-Dearborn?

Support from the generous donors in the form of scholarships was extremely crucial in not only reducing the financial burden, but also enabled me to perform at a high level academically, give my time and efforts to my community, and explore hobbies and avenues in my life that I might not have otherwise.

Mustafa (Abdullah) Polat

Victors for UM-Dearborn
Victors for UM-Dearborn
Mustafa Polat ('17 B.S.)

Which medical school are you attending?

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Class of 2021

Specialty

I am currently interested in Emergency Medicine & Global Health with a dream of doing relief work internationally.

IMPACT interviewed Mustafa in July 2017. Below is an excerpt. Read the entire interview.

Why did you decide to attend UM-Dearborn?

I heard UM-Dearborn's small classroom sizes made it very possible for students to take the initiative and become more active in class, but also have an opportunity to get some one-on-one time with professors, which is difficult to find at most schools. The close-knit community also made UM-Dearborn an attractive school for me, because they promote a very diverse and inclusive environment on campus.

What faculty member(s) most encouraged you in your studies? Is there one class, research activity, event or extracurricular activity that made a lasting impact?

One of the strongest selling points for why I chose UM-Dearborn was the amazing staff and faculty. Dr. Francine Dolins, Dr. Harmony Reppond, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Deborah Roundtree all had a huge impact on my undergraduate studies. Their teaching styles allow for students to be comfortable enough to participate in class in deep conversations. Their passion for their work motivated me to try and be the best version of myself. They opened up a whole new world to me, from so many different angles. They are not only great teachers, but they do a great job of inspiring their students to be confident and reach for their dreams.

What did it mean to receive a general merit scholarship?

To receive the merit scholarship was a true blessing bestowed upon me by the university. It was just one example of how UM-Dearborn continuously strives to acknowledge and reward students trying to make a difference in and out of the classroom.

For me, I felt a great sense of gratitude and appreciation. It was an honor to have my efforts rewarded in such a fashion. This scholarship is one of the main reasons I decided to attend UM-Dearborn. It made me realize that hard work rarely goes unnoticed at an institutional level. It gave me the confidence to aim for higher and more challenging goals or milestones. Perhaps, even more importantly, the scholarship provided financial security. Due to a number of factors, my family's socioeconomic level is below the poverty line. Thankfully, the prospect of paying a big tuition bill was one less burden my family had to worry about. For that, we are forever grateful to the University.

All in all, receiving a general merit scholarship gave me an extra boost to challenge myself in several different ways. It also gave my family and I a great sense of gratitude and appreciation to UM-Dearborn and the people who represent it.

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