By Wendy Sarubbi | January 13, 2014 3:42 pm

Campus LifeIn its second year, the UCF College of Medicine’s student mentor program is is focused on helping undergraduate students along the challenging path of getting into medical school. Currently, there are 38 UCF undergrads participating in the program. With more than 50 medical student volunteers, many students actually have two mentors to work with. Mentors say they deal with the pressing questions that many undergraduates have, such as:  “What classes should I be taking?” and “What’s a typical day of medical school like?”

First-year student, Lauren Kendall is taking on the leadership duties for the group this year, bringing her previous experience as a mentor during her undergraduate days at UCF. “When I was an undergrad, I would have given anything to have a medical student mentor,” Kendall said. “I think it’s really important to have someone to ask questions, someone to give them support; a role model to show them it is possible.”

Mentor Prgm

The group also wants to expand its services to students who are not majoring in traditional fields like pre-med or biology. One student who knows this path is first-year student  Eva Kohout, who came to the UCF College of Medicine after graduating with an economics degree from Florida State. “There are many different paths to medical school, and I think that the experiences you gain in these non-traditional majors are really beneficial,” she said.

Kohout hopes to assist students from diverse majors because she believes diverse student backgrounds are beneficial to the medical school and medicine in general.  “You have to be able to talk to your patients as people, so working with people outside of the scientific community is an asset,” She said. Kohout cites her mother, a doctor, but encouraged her daughter to major in a topic she loves while continuing to take the science courses necessary for medical school. The group recently held a “meet-the-mentors” dinner so undergraduates and medical students can get to know one another. Planning is underway for a mentor panel discussion this spring. With an abundance of UCF medical students ready and willing to help, the mentor program is looking forward to even more growth and outreach opportunities in 2014.

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