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Former TV producer Jeremy Fertel is an alumnus of the Postbac Premed program.
Jeremy Fertel

Hometown: New Rochelle, NY
Undergraduate College: University of Michigan
Major: Biopsychology & Cognitive Science

Path to the Postbac Program:

  • Soccer player
  • College sports radio commentator
  • TV producer
Postbac Graduation Year: 2011
Medical School: SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine

"A few years after Hurricane Katrina, I was down in New Orleans to shoot the season finale of a television series I was producing, which focused on the ongoing effort to rebuild homes and to celebrate the return of Mardi Gras. One man who shared his story of survival had been living with his family in a FEMA trailer on his front lawn for more than two years. He spoke solemnly about his weak arms and shortness of breath, which prevented him from performing simple construction tasks on his damaged home. Although I was proud we could rebuild his home and provide renewed hope, I was also frustrated, knowing that in my current role I could not restore his health. I decided that instead of just sharing people's stories, I wanted to do something to ensure that they are healthy enough to live them."

Jacqueline Kim is an alumna of the Postbac Premed Program.
Jacqueline Kim

Hometown: Apple Valley, MN
Undergraduate College: Yale University
Major: History

Path to the Postbac Premed Program:

  • High school social studies teacher and cross country coach
  • Travel journalist
  • Economics research assistant

"I have always been interested in helping professions, and I initially entered college with the intention of pursuing medicine. When I began my studies, however, I realized I had never considered other options.  Outside of the health professions, many fields appealed to me, which included journalism, public policy, and international development.

"After a few years in the workforce, I gained a better understanding of myself and the elements most important to me in my career pursuits.  I realized what was most important was being empowered to tangibly help others and to help combat health disparities in our communities."

Former event coordinator Tad Knier is a Postbac Premed alumnus.
Tad Knier

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate College: University of Virginia
Major: Economics

Path to the Postbac Program:

  • Singer
  • Waiter
  • Event planner
Postbac Graduation Year: 2009
Medical School: New York University School of Medicine

“After graduating from college, I interviewed for a variety of positions in marketing and public relations, and I was hired by Lehman Brothers as an event coordinator. I hosted events at some of New York City’s most upscale restaurants, traveled widely and stayed in many premier hotels. Despite all of the great perks in my job, I was unsatisfied and didn’t like the direction my life was headed. In thinking about what I really wanted out of life, I realized I wanted to make a significant impact on the world around me and give back to my community.”

Sara Leitch, journalist turned Postbac Premed student.
Sara Leitch

Hometown: Summit, NJ
Undergraduate College: Yale University
Major: Biology
Graduate Degree: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Master of Science

Path to the Postbac Premed Program:

  • Sales and trading analyst
  • Journalist
  • Scientist

Postbac Graduation Year: 2009
Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine

"Growing up, I was always interested in science, but I was also interested in writing. As a reporter, I felt like what I was doing had an impact on my readers, but I wanted to make a different contribution to the world. After I had an accident that required surgery, I got a first-hand look at how medical care can change a patient's life. This experience combined with my love of math and science caused me to pursue a career in medicine."

Bisundev Mahoto, from policy researcher to medical student.
Bisundev Mahato

Hometown: Lahan, Nepal
Undergraduate College: Harvard University
Major: Economics

Path to the Postbac Premed Program:

  • Economic policy consultant
  • Health policy researcher
  • Emergency room volunteer

Postbac Graduation Year: 2009
Medical School: Harvard University School of Medicine

“I consider myself very lucky. Despite being born into an illiterate and poor family in Nepal, I have been able to study and work at some of the best institutions in the world, with some of the most successful people in the world. Although I felt I was contributing to society as a health policy researcher, I decided to pursue medicine because I was disappointed by the distance between my statistical analysis and the people I wanted to help. ”

Former opera singer Astrid Marshall is an alumna of the Postbac Premed program.
Astrid Marshall

Hometown: Wilmette, IL
Undergraduate College: Barnard College
Major: Music
Graduate Degree: University of Maryland; Master of Music

Path to the Postbac Program:

  • Opera singer
  • Web content manager
  • SAT tutor
Postbac Graduation Year: 2011
Medical School: Weill Cornell Medical College

"I was part of an exclusive opera performance training program and for two years struggled to hone my technique and compete with top young opera singers for future opportunities. I was miserable and I realized that fighting for the spotlight was not going to fulfill me, even if I did end up "making it". After volunteering as an SAT tutor for underserved New York City students and in a hospital emergency room, I realized that a life of service would give me the fulfillment I was seeking."

Calvin Nash
Calvin Nash

Hometown: Hempstead, NY
Undergraduate College: Morehouse College
Major: Business Administration – Accounting

Path to the Postbac Program:

  • Basketball player
  • Investment banker
  • HIV/AIDS researcher

Postbac Graduation Year: 2011
Medical School: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

“Gazing into the rising sun after a 20-hour day of work at an intense investment bank can make anyone question their motivations. For me, I knew that I was more than capable of handling this type of work but what did I really accomplish in those 20 hours? What impact had I made? I didn't have to look very far to see the transformational power that medicine possesses. Nephrological medicine and research gave my mother a renewed life after 9 years of renal failure. Orthopedic medical techniques allowed both my brother and me to recover from the same wrist injury and resume successful athletic careers. Through medicine, I hope to apply the work ethic that brought me success in banking to a more rewarding career and change the lives of other people just as medicine had done for me.”

Former receptionist Blessing Nuga is a Postbac Premed student.
Blessing Nuga

Hometown: Bronx, NY
Undergraduate College: Tufts University
Majors: Japanese and Clinical Psychology

Path to the Postbac Premed Program:

  • Receptionist
  • Reading and writing tutor
  • Clinical research assistant

"During my senior year at Tufts University, I took a public policy and health ethics class that required us to read, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Although I was immediately captured by the humanistic side of the story, it was ultimately the science behind Henrietta's "immortal" cells that inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare. Not only did the story ignite my interest in medicine, but also my desire to ensure that healthcare is accessible to all people, regardless of their socioeconomic background."

Charles Rinehart
Charles Rinehart

Hometown: Winter Garden, Florida
Undergraduate College: Georgetown University
Major: International Affairs
Path to the Postbac Premed Program:

  • Husband
  • U.S. Marine
  • Outdoor Enthusiast

Postbac Graduation Year: 2011
Medical School: Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

"When I was in high school, I suffered from a string of soccer-related injuries—including a torn ACL—that forced me to spend a fair amount of time under the care of orthopedic surgeons. I saw their compassion and their ability to heal others, and I knew then that I wished to be a part of the medical profession."

Chef turned M.D. is an alumnus of the Postbac Premed Program.
Matias Verna MD

Psychiatrist, New York State Psychiatric Hospital
Hometown: Tenafly, NJ
Undergraduate College and Major: George Washington University, Spanish Literature
Path to the Postbac Premed Program: Chef
Postbac Graduation Year: 1999
Medical School: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

“As the son of a legendary surgeon, I always wanted to become a physician. After cooking for my roommates throughout college, however, I decided to nurture my talent and pursue cooking professionally by travelling throughout Europe as an apprentice for some of the most talented chefs in the world. Upon the completion of my training, I landed my first executive chef position and later returned to the United States, where I opened a bakery. When I was ready to pursue medicine, I enrolled in the Postbac Premed Program, which had a seemingly limitless breadth that helped me understand how to mobilize a vast body of knowledge and make it useful. Today, I treat children, adolescents, and adults, but I most enjoy helping young patients find their strengths.”