Med School’s Accepted Students Day shows ‘what Campbell is all about’

Future medical students take part in annual event highlighting the Campbell experience

Becoming part of a community, and the network of support so inherent in that, were overarching themes as the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed its Class of 2028.

More than 200 people — some 90 future medical students and their families — took part in the annual Accepted Students Day on March 23, a day that included information sessions, small group interactions, tours, exhibits, a housing fair and a panel discussion.

Fifteen current medical students and graduates composed the panel, covering myriad topics and answering a plethora of questions. Alumni on the panel were Dr. Anthony Parker, a member of inaugural class who graduated in 2017; Dr. Zari Cain-Akbar, a neurologist at Harnett Health; and Dr. Ray Flageolle, who graduated in 2023.

Questions hit on topics such as prepping for the medical boards, serving rural communities, facing the many challenges — both expected and surprising — and balancing school and family.

It’s a team sport, said Director of Student Affairs Debi Pipes, who led the panel.

“It really is a community,” said Remy Mathi, a first-year medical student at Campbell from Thousand Oaks, California.

Panelist Sophie Hockran is a third-year medical student from Andover, Ohio, who also competes in Olympic-style weightlifting.

“Campbell’s great on paper, but once you get here and see the people, realize what they have, and what their experiences are, and how nice they are to everybody, (it) really makes the difference of why you want to come here. For me, the reason I wanted to come to Campbell was because I knew they had the community that would help me thrive.”

Community and support.


“Coming here, you’re thrown into a very stressful environment, but we’re surrounded by so many people who are in the same boat as us … and (with) faculty that truly cares about us,” said Katie Gamel, a third-year medical student from Douglasville, Georgia.

“I feel like everyone listens very intently, which is so supportive … and to have friends — Sophie and I are wonderful, wonderful friends (and) she’s so special to me. To meet people like this in medical school is so encouraging. We have all been very supported.”

That support, and the idea of a community coming together, started to form Saturday.

Zach Thomas is both a veteran of the Navy and the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program at Campbell. Thomas, of Marion, is a first-year med student.

While in the MSBS program, Thomas said, he visited the Admissions office after every test as he prepared for a career in medicine.

“They supported me at getting through that process, even before I was a medical student,” Thomas said. “The support is at every level. Once you’re here you’ve got your classmates, the faculty. … It’s all there.”

Lauren Merchant, a second-year med student from Campbell Hall, New York, is part of the U.S. Military’s Health Professions Scholarship Program, or HPSP. She’s an Army second lieutenant and will become a captain upon graduation.

During the panel discussion, an incoming student, who is serving in the Air Force, asked Merchant about her experience so far at Campbell.

In November, Merchant helped lead a group of military students in recognizing veterans who played a positive role in the lives of students, faculty and staff. The group, the Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, recognized the veterans by placing personalized American flags in their honor for Veterans Day.

“Everyone is very supportive of the military,” she said of Campbell, adding that third- and fourth-year military students can do rotations in base and post hospitals. “Overall, the experience has been great.”

Mark Bushhouse remembers attending Accepted Students Day a couple of years ago. He’s a second-year medical student from Fayetteville and a Campbell undergraduate. Some of his family attended Campbell, as well.

“That certainly was a huge factor in picking Campbell,” said Bushhouse, who is married with four children, ranging in age from 2 to 13. “The network that I saw during COVID at Campbell was one that found a way to connect us with what we needed.”

Although the incoming students may still choose another medical school, Accepted Students Day helps solidify their decision to pick Campbell.

“They have options,” said Jenny Patterson, Admissions director. “Usually, getting them on campus to see that environment and to feel it, I think, really shows the nature of what Campbell is all about. This is a wonderful day.”