A determined Dannielle Allen is on her way to becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

We talked with Dannielle Allen on July 1, 2019.  Danielle is a RC graduate of 2016 with a major in Biochemistry.  Dannielle exemplifies the power of determination: She didn’t get into a medical school upon her first round of application but got into several after two gap years and hard work, and is currently starting her second year at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.  We spoke to her the day before her second year of classes began.

Dannielle’s situation was particularly interesting because while she was a good student, she wasn’t quite at the usual level GPA-wise for students entering medical school.  So how did she overcome that issue? She credits both solid coursework and research experience at RC followed by dedicated shadowing of a physician, volunteer work, and scribing in getting her where she is now.  And she was very persistent in pursuing efforts to make herself a better candidate.  She actively sought feedback from the persons on admissions committees about how to make her application stronger. She took an online course in public health during her gap period and she also retook the MCAT.   These activities made her a stronger candidate, and also impressed medical school committee members with her determination.

When asked for suggestions for students who want to apply to medical school, Dannielle had several: take the Kaplan course for the MCAT and really study for it, start early on one’s personal statement, take some notes when doing research or other extracurricular activities for later reference when putting together the applications.  She also mentioned understanding how the application was formatted and how to present yourself optimally (for instance, she progressed toward describing the field hockey team in terms that would make her a more capable physician) and that she wished she’d taken a pharmacology course because medical school covered a lot of drug information.

Like other medical school students, Danielle agreed that the first year was “like drinking from a fire hose”.  Dannielle readily identified ways in which the liberal arts helped her during medical school itself: smaller classes at Roanoke helped her become more confident in speaking up and participating; because of the smaller student body she had a wide range of friends and a variety of personal interactions.

We asked her why she wanted to pursue a DO program.  “I really liked the DO philosophy of dealing with the person as a whole” rather than just the symptoms and isolated problems; after all those problems are seldom really isolated.  Some of the practices she learned were about helping the person without necessarily resorting to medication immediately, which also appealed to her (and us, frankly).

Best of luck and congratulations to Dannielle Allen!