Eastern Mennonite University

Summer 2008

Science, Service, Success

'EMU ... a nurturing, safe, God-centered environment'

Alumni who serve in science
See photos of science alumni working in health, space exploration, education and business

Some of the people in the accompanying slideshow are famous, some are known mainly to their families, colleagues and patients. But all came to Eastern Mennonite University (or College, as many of them knew it to be) at pivotal points in their lives and were put on the path to their careers.

If they were pre-med majors, they were able to dissect one or more cadavers under the close and careful supervision of a PhD-holding professor, an exercise which put them ahead of many of their peers when they got to medical school.

"Our classes are smaller than one finds at larger universities and we do not rely on teaching assistants at the undergraduate level," notes vice president and undergraduate academic dean Marie Morris, PhD, "Our highly qualified faculty members work with their students in small-class settings, collaborating with students one-on-one to do research that often is published in peer-reviewed journals.

"These are some of the reasons why EMU historically has out-produced many large prestigious universities in the percentage of its graduates who go on to become successful physicians, nurses and other professionals in the health-care arena."

In the last five years, 23 out of 25 applicants from EMU's pre-med program have been accepted into medical schools – an eye-popping 92% rate of admission. (See the list of schools in the "What About Me? What Can I Do?" article.)

From Anchorage to EMU

EMU alum Aaron Trimble
UVa medical student Aaron Trimble '06

In March 2003, 17-year-old Aaron Trimble journeyed from his home in Anchorage, Alaska, to scout for pre-medical programs in Virginia. The son of a neurologist, he was trying to improve his odds of admission to the University of Virginia medical school, which admits only 9% of its applicants on an average year. (The odds are better for in-state applicants, 18.5% of whom were admitted in 2005.) His father advised him to look at small schools that might have a pipeline to UVa.

After applying to five schools in the vicinity of UVa and being admitted to each, Aaron settled on Eastern Mennonite.

"In the end, it just felt right. I honestly felt the Lord was directing me here. This place challenged me in all the right ways." Aaron was admitted to UVa medical school on his first try in 2006. "I think it helped that they knew EMU and its world view and the type of people that tend to come out of EMU."

Raised in an evangelical non-denominational church, Aaron drives an hour across the mountain range separating UVa and EMU to attend a conservative Mennonite church each Sunday. "Going to church with farmers provides me with balance that I need; it keeps me in check despite the pressures of school."

'Work ethic and campus environment' key to success

Kevin Foley '96
Kevin Foley '96, a doctorate-holding pharmacologist who co-directs a medical lab program at the Mayo Clinic

Kevin Foley '96, a doctorate-holding pharmacologist who co-directs a medical lab program at the Mayo Clinic, echoes the observations of Aaron:

"I have come to believe that the biggest problem facing new college students isn't their intellect or their high school background, it is their work ethic and campus environment. I have worked in schools where numerous students start out as excited, starry-eyed freshman, eager to go on to medical school. But soon after moving on campus they become entangled in the sex, drugs, fraternity/sorority, party-atmosphere and their goals and work ethic quickly fade.

"I've attended two grad schools, completed post-doc research, and taught grad and undergrad students at different universities – I can honestly say that EMU is the best school I have been a part of. EMU provided me with a nurturing, safe and God-centered environment which, as I look back, was the reason I was able to be successful."

Foley also thinks EMU's graduates benefit from additionally receiving a broad liberal arts education – he majored in history and political science – and from "EMU's peaceful environment and commitment to conflict resolution."

See photos of science alumni working in health, space exploration, education and business...

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