Jessie Yuan, Zach Ramsey and Sanah Aslam
Jessie Yuan, Zach Ramsey and Sanah Aslam. Photo by Phil Jones

Answers Along the Way: Professional Scholars

If you were around in the 1980s, chances are you might remember the popular sitcom Doogie Howser, M.D., starring Neil Patrick Harris. The show told the story of a teenaged genius juggling the normal problems of being a youngster and a licensed physician in a residency program.

Augusta University’s Jessie Yuan, Zach Ramsey and Sanah Aslam are not exactly teenagers like the fictional Dr. Howser, but these high-achieving twentysomethings are already first-year medical and dental students, even though they will be graduating next spring with a bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. They are a part of the first cohort of the university’s BS/MD and BS/DMD Professional Scholars programs, which allows them to earn their bachelor of science and medical or dental degrees in seven years.

Students in the program who meet certain benchmarks throughout their undergraduate coursework will be guaranteed a seat in the Medical College of Georgia or The Dental College of Georgia without having to go through the usual admissions process after the third year of college.

BS/MD students Aslam and Ramsey started their program in 2014 and are two of only 18 now in their first year of medical school. Yuan entered the BS/DMD program three years ago and is now in her first year at the Dental College of Georgia. All three students plan to practice in Georgia.

» The Dental College of Georgia was the best place to begin my journey in becoming a dentist. I changed my mind about attending Johns Hopkins University when I learned about Augusta’s BS/DMD program, because I knew this was a great academic opportunity for anyone wanting to go into dentistry. (Yuan)

» The work in the program is tough, but worth it. As undergrads, we are held to high standards, and I can say the coursework groomed me for what to expect in dental school. (Yuan)

» There is a level of professionalism needed to succeed in medical school, which is why I am grateful for the rigorous classwork, MCAT preparation and other clinical experience we had as undergrads in this program. (Aslam)

» The comradery of my classmates has made this whole experience even better. We study hard together, and it feels good to know that we are still there for each other during
this next chapter of our journey. (Aslam)

» The support of my classmates and professors encouraged me to succeed even when things got tough, and it helped me get through some of the grueling assignments. (Ramsey)

» To succeed in this program, you have to be dedicated to doing the work and pushing yourself to stay focused on your goals. I believe that if you put in the work, you give yourself a chance to experience the results you want. (Ramsey)

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For nearly 200 years, Augusta University and its legacy institutions have been centers of learning and drivers of discovery and innovation in Augusta, the state of Georgia and beyond. Our community of alumni, students, faculty and friends are amazing people living incredible lives and making invaluable contributions to our world.

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