New molecular, biomedical sciences certificate program pays off for students

Barbra Roller, PhD; Micky Akinrodoye; Tracey Weiler, PhD.

Pictured left to right: Barbra Roller, Micky Akinrodoye and Tracey Weiler

Micky Akinrodoye was a little boy in Nigeria when he accidentally ran into a sliding glass door. Doctors saved his life and sparked his interest in medicine.

The 23-year-old applied to the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine last year, but got waitlisted. Then he got a second chance through the college’s new Certificate in Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program.

“They didn’t see in me what they wanted at first, but I figured if I could show them in person, I could change their mind,” he says.

Akinrodoye is one of 42 students who earned certificates from the program’s inaugural class and was accepted into medical school after meeting certain eligibility requirements. The graduation ceremony was held May 4 in Academic Health Center 4.

The new graduate certificate program is designed to strengthen the biomedical knowledge and professional skills of students who wish to apply to medical school or other health-related degree programs. In addition, students like Akinrodoye, who had been waitlisted by HWCOM and complete the certificate program with a GPA of A- or better and meet professionalism standards are eligible for medical school admission without having to go through the interview process again.

“These students undertook a very rigorous program of study. I am thrilled to see the improvement in the quality of their performance at the end of the program,” says Assistant Professor Tracey Weiler, the program’s academic administrator. “They’ve learned so much more than science during these 9 months.”

Thirty of the inaugural students applied for medical school in the 2017 cycle (the rest say they will do so for the 2018 cycle). Twenty-one have been accepted to medical schools so far, including 18 who have been accepted by HWCOM.

Akinrodoye, who wants to be an orthopedist, is fortunate enough to have received offers from two medical schools—Texas A&M and HWCOM. As a Texas resident, he could save money by going there, but he’s chosen to stay here even though it means paying higher out-of-state tuition.

“It’s a lot cheaper [there], but I feel like I would get more from FIU, that I could be the best possible physician I can be, if I came to FIU,” he says.

Assistant Professor Barbra Roller, the certificate program’s administrative director and assistant dean for student affairs, has high hopes for Akinrodoye and the other students who will be joining the College of Medicine in the fall.

“In these two semesters, they’ve had most of the courses and many of the same instructors our first-year medical students have. So we expect them to be the superstars of the M1 class,” says Roller.

The Certificate Program is currently accepting applications for Fall 2017. The deadline for applications is June 15.

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