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Meet the Student Leaders of Orientation 2016

Each year, the Edward Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)–Virginia hosts orientation to welcome its new class of medical students. On August 1, 2016, VCOM orientation leaders will greet 188 first-year medical students at VCOM’s doors in Blacksburg, Virginia.

In addition to getting to know campus, taking part in the class photograph and getting a grasp on what osteopathic medicine truly is, a major part of VCOM’s orientation is to obtain a feeling of familiarity among new students and current faculty, staff and students.

Current students play a primary role in welcoming new students to campus and ensuring they feel at home. Orientation leaders are VCOM students with outstanding GPAs, enthusiasm for their college, and, most importantly, a desire to ensure new first-year class members understand the VCOM community they are joining.

We invite you to meet a few of the orientation leaders for 2016

Shikshya Baral
Class of 2019

I graduated from GMU in 2013, worked as a scribe then applied to medical school. VCOM’s medical outreach program and beautiful small Blacksburg community was what had driven me to come here. Since VCOM is a family, I just wanted to be there for our future family and the best way to do that was through my involvement as orientation leader. 

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Nikita Chadha
Class of 2019

Hi everyone! I'm Nikita Chadha, a rising second year at VCOM-Virginia. I'm from McLean, Virginia and went to Virginia Tech for undergrad, go Hokies! I chose to attend VCOM because I really liked the curriculum and early exposure to patient interaction such as the Standardized Patient experience. Additionally, VCOM has a strong sense of community, which really makes you feel at home, which I love! I want to be an orientation leader to welcome all the new first years to the family with enthusiasm :) I can't wait to meet all of you!

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Quincy Cheesman
Class of 2019

Bachelor of Science in Biology. I am a hard working individual and take pride in my work ethic in anything I do. I am also one that values time and is very punctual. To stay sane from medical school, I like to workout and play basketball. I am engaged and going through this journey of medical school with my lovely fiancé.

What attracted me to VCOM most was the astounding environment. The students and staff are all welcoming and really treat you as family. During orientation last year, I knew I made the right choice. The orientation leaders and staff at the school helped so much during the tough transition into medical school.

I decided to become an orientation leader because I wanted to give back and help similarly to what was done for me. I want to be able to give helpful tips, answer questions and welcome the Class of 2020 into our family. I know how important it is to have someone that has experienced things first hand to give advice and provide comfort. I am looking forward to getting this year started and hopeful that I can help in numerous ways!

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Marcie Costello
Class of 2019

My name is Marcie Costello, and I am a second year at VCOM. I'm from Knoxville, Tennessee, and I graduated from Xavier University (Go Musketeers!) in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I majored in Biology and Spanish. I chose VCOM because I love the holistic approach of osteopathic medicine. VCOM felt like a place where students collaborated to help each other become better physicians. I am excited to have the opportunity to welcome the class of 2020 to VCOM because the second years I met at orientation last year helped me tremendously in the adjustment to medical school. I hope to do the same for the incoming first year students. 

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Amber Garofalo
Class of 2019

I am second year medical student in the Class of 2019. My fiancé, Quincy Cheesman, is also a second year student. We have the cutest teacup Chihuahua in the world named Kobe. He is my world! I love working out at least once a day to take a break from my studies. If you ever want to get your nails done, I’m always down! I am a Christian and love Jesus.

The medical mission work VCOM is involved in and the family atmosphere I felt when coming to VCOM made me choose to come here. I absolutely love VCOM. I knew medical school was going to be hard, but if I had to go through it anywhere, I knew VCOM was the best place to be. Over this summer I was blessed enough to go on one of VCOM’s medical mission trips to El Salvador and it was life changing. It truly reminded me that all the blood, sweat and tears I put into studying is for a bigger purpose. I appreciate all the wonderful relationships I made while in El Salvador and will cherish them forever.

I chose to be an orientation leader, because I really appreciated how I felt during orientation week last year. Medical school is intimidating and it’s important to have comfort and support from current medical students. I want my orientation group to feel like they can come to me about any questions and know I am not just an orientation leader but a friend to them as well. As everyone knows, I am very talkative and interactive with people, so I knew being an orientation leader would be a great experience.

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Katherine Hutchinson
Class of 2019

My name is Katherine Hutchinson and I'm from Calhoun, Georgia. I went to undergrad at Tusculum College, a small private school in Tennessee, where I played tennis. I decided to come to VCOM because of the close-knit environment I immediately felt at my first visit. I was also very interested in the opportunity to do mission work at one of the hospitals that VCOM maintains in various countries. I wanted to be an orientation leader to remind the upcoming first years that you can still have fun while in medical school. Many of them, just like I was, will be nervous and scared when arriving for their first year, and they need to be reminded that all of their classmates are going through this journey together!

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Sarah Marchione
Class of 2019

I was born and raised in State College, Pennsylvania, and attended the Pennsylvania State University where I double majored in Biology and Spanish. I love traveling, cooking, being outdoors, and watching Netflix with my two kittens Luke and Leia. I chose to come to VCOM because the minute I stepped on campus I felt welcomed and at home. The caring, supportive environment and helpfulness of everyone on my interview day made me fall in love with VCOM, and the more time I have spent here the more I know I made the right choice. I wanted to be an orientation leader because I personally had a difficult time transitioning to medical school, and I found the orientation process with second year students and welcome week events to be incredibly helpful in finding my footing and starting the year off strong. I’m so excited to welcome the new VCOM class of 2020 and look forward to all of the great things that lie ahead!

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Mary Novak
Class of 2019

I am originally from High Point, North Carolina, and I am a Virginia Tech alumna with a degree in Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise. I was drawn to VCOM because of the great experience I had in Blacksburg as an undergrad and I knew VCOM would provide me with a close knit supportive community to help me through the journey of medical school. I was also drawn to VCOM due to the emphasis on primary care and outreach for underserved communities. In my free time outside of school I enjoy yoga, swimming, and dabbling in art and photography.  I wanted to serve as an orientation leader because I was very anxious and nervous as a first year student. I know the Class of 2020 will feel the same and I want to help alleviate their stress and make their transition as easy as possible. I look forward to meeting the new students and serving as a peer they can go to with any questions or concerns no matter how trivial they may be. 

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Tyler Rockwell
Class of 2019

I'm originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, and came out to VCOM two years ago for the post-bacc program. After doing the program I knew that VCOM was an excellent fit for me both socially and academically and that’s why I decided to stay here for medical school. Aside from it being part of my job as an SGA officer, I chose to be an orientation leader in part because I want to impart knowledge I gained during my first year on the incoming class. I feel there are some common misconceptions about what medical school is like and what is required of students to be successful and I want to let them know that there are many ways to succeed in school and to let them know that I am available not just for academic support but social and psychological as well.

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