Every Spring, talented sophomores from FIU’s Honors College submit their applications to be considered for early acceptance by the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM). The Early Assurance Program (EAP) ensures that these students not only get accepted into HWCOM but receive guidance throughout their undergraduate career to broaden their perspectives in medicine and their areas of interest.
A limited number of students are offered interviews after applications are reviewed. Four honors students were accepted into the prestigious program in 2021.
Phoebe Langius’s interest in understanding human intelligence and decision making led her to following a path in Psychiatry. Double majoring in biology and psychology, her passion for medicine stemmed from her love of science and research throughout high school and her time at FIU.
“While science and research in high school and FIU give me insight into the impact of scientific on medicine,” Langius said, “the practice of medicine through my Hospice work and shadowing experience showed me what it truly meant to be a doctor, finalizing my passion for medicine.”
Langius is involved on campus as a Residential and Learning Assistant while also performing as a Research Assistant for the Allen Neurocircuitry and Cognition Lab. For Langius, her love for FIU inspired her to take the leap and apply for the EAP. She was also encouraged by Honors College faculty members along with her family.
“I fell in love with the environment and diversity of our school as well as the Miami area, and the EAP program has given me the opportunity to remain here until I graduate medical school,” Langius said.
Nutrition major Nicolas Jo’s ambition to join the future of HWCOM came from wanting to see his dream of being a physician come true. Jo cites his family’s experience on both sides of the system as patients and healthcare workers as the inspiration behind pursuing medicine.
“I hope to learn as much as I can so that I can be the best physician for my patients that I can be. I really do want to make a positive difference in the world, and I feel that medicine is my path in doing so,” Jo said.
Jo is still deciding on what area of medicine he would like to pursue, although he has a background in neuroscience and neurology, an area of interest for him.
“I’ve had some experience in the field,” Jo said, “competing in neuroscience, doing research at a neurobiology lab, and shadowing multiple neurosurgeons and neurologists, so it’s definitely something I’ve enjoyed working with these past few years.”
The idea of having a seat at the table early on in his career motivated Ivan Garces to apply. Currently double majoring in biology and natural and applied sciences, he spends his time outside of class assisting at the FIU Integrative Marine Genomics & Symbiosis (IMaGeS) lab studying “the symbiotic relationship between anemones and their symbionts.”
Garces has experienced various areas in the realm of medicine, but surgical oncology has piqued his curiosity. “I want to make a positive contribution in an area that has affected so many and play my part in making a difference in people’s lives,” Garces said.
Pre-med student Preeti Singh considers applying to the program as “one of the best decisions [she] ever made.” Singh currently volunteers for the Florida Ae.aegypti Genome Group assisting with research in the Laboratory of Tropical Genetics. She credits her work in the laboratory with finding her niche – Pediatric Otolaryngology.
“Interestingly enough,” Singh said, “I fell in love with pediatric otolaryngology when researching certain human reactions to mosquito bites, and even shadowed a few current otolaryngologists along the way to semi-solidify my decision.”
Singh plans to take advantage of any opportunity to delve into the medical community by participating in extracurricular activities. She also intends to make a positive impact on her peers during the rest of her time at FIU.
“I hope to spread confidence, clear doubt, and help foster a love for medicine in pre-meds, and guide them best I can in their future endeavors, not limited to medicine alone,” Singh said.
Students interested in joining next year’s cohort can apply on the website beginning January 10, 2022. Applications are due March 31, 2022.