Dr. Thomas Turcotte is an ABAC alumnus who is a veterinarian at Harrodsburg (Ky.) Animal Hospital.
The path to becoming a doctor, dentist, lawyer, veterinarian or pharmacist just took a sharp turn and leads right through the center of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
“Our faculty are committed to helping our students while they’re enrolled at ABAC and beyond,” Dr. Matthew Anderson, Dean of the ABAC School of Arts and Sciences, said. “We work very hard at preparing our graduates for life after ABAC.”
For more and more of those students that life after walking the graduation stage at ABAC points directly toward professional schools in medicine, law, pharmacy, and many others.
Recent ABAC graduates Pedro Escobar from Tifton and Kyle Posey from Irwinville began attending the Mercer University School of Medicine this fall. Escobar is receiving the Nathan Deal Scholarship which covers his tuition.
“ABAC provided me with several opportunities, friendships, and overall was a contributor and stepping-stone to my success,” Escobar said.
Posey was equally impressed with his ABAC preparation for medical school, giving credit to all his professors and to his advisor, Dr. Marvin Holtz.
“Many of my higher biological science classes helped me get where I am today and helped with my understanding and studying for the Medical School Admission Test,” Posey said.
Escobar and Posey both received their bachelor’s degrees in biology from ABAC, and Escobar also received his associate degree in nursing.
“We are very successful in preparing students for professional schools, graduate schools, and careers in science,” Dr. Joseph Falcone, professor of chemistry and physics in the ABAC School of Arts and Sciences, said. “ABAC is the place for a high-quality education at a sound price.”
Dr. Tracy Nolan, a 1997 ABAC alumnus and a Mercer University Medical School graduate, would certainly agree with that. In 2015, she became the first female general surgeon at Tift Regional Medical Center. Nolan was the guest speaker at the 2018 ABAC fall commencement ceremony.
“I started college right here at ABAC,” Nolan told the graduates. “You need to start climbing the ladder of success. Every rung brings you closer to being or doing what makes you, you. Develop connections. Let people know they can count on you. Be confident in your ability to get the job done. Get out there! Not much was ever accomplished by sitting around.”
Falcone said ABAC alumnus Kelly Delgado from Tifton is also enrolled at the Mercer University School of Medicine. Jeremy Paradice from Moultrie and Abby Unger from Douglas have both gained early admission to the Mercer University School of Medicine, and Elias Moreno from Moultrie is a medical student at Kansas City University.
ABAC graduates Shelby McCoy Flowers from Moultrie, Julia Patterson from Sylvester, and Christian Edwards from Moultrie are enrolled in the new Moultrie campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM).
PCOM and ABAC recently announced an agreement which allows students seeking careers as pharmacists to earn doctoral degrees a year early at PCOM Georgia. The Suwanee campus is the home of the PCOM School of Pharmacy.
Dr. Shawn Spencer, Dean of the PCOM School of Pharmacy, said the agreement allows eligible students to enter the pharmacy school after completing coursework through their junior year at ABAC. Students who meet the School of Pharmacy requirements can matriculate into professional school before graduating from ABAC and will have the opportunity to earn a combined BS-PharmD while at PCOM Georgia.
Spencer explained that after completion of the second year of pharmacy school, these students will be eligible to receive their bachelor’s degree from ABAC, having earned the required credits during their first two years at PCOM Georgia. Students can begin their careers as pharmacists early and save tuition dollars in the process.
“We continually strive to add value for our students,” Spencer said. “We’re very pleased about ABAC’s partnership with us and will continue to support Georgia residents entering the region’s healthcare workforce.”
At ABAC, Anderson is always on the lookout for ways to help students, and he sees the PCOM partnership as one of those avenues.
“We are very excited about this new venture with PCOM,” Anderson said. “It is sure to be of tremendous benefit to our students and the broader region. This agreement will allow students to complete their combined bachelor and doctoral level education in a shorter time frame, which will make this advanced training more accessible and prepare more pharmacists to enter the workforce.”
ABAC graduate Sabrina Harris from Albany is taking the pharmacy route and has been granted early admission to the South University pharmacy program.
Many ABAC students have a love for animals, and a few of them transfer that affection into a career in veterinary medicine. Dr. Thomas Turcotte is a former ABAC Ambassador who attended the School of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University. A 2012 ABAC graduate, he is now a veterinarian at Harrodsburg Animal Hospital in Harrodsburg, Ky.
ABAC graduate Michelle Moncrief from Donalsonville is attending St. George’s University Veterinary Medicine program, and Morgan Russ from Deland, Fla., is enrolled at the Ross University Veterinary School. Brooke Clark from Stockbridge is in Harrogate, Tenn., at the Lincoln Memorial University Veterinary Medicine program.
Do you have a toothache? In a few years, you can turn that bad bicuspid over to ABAC alumnus Jose Daniel Vargas from Moultrie who is enrolled at Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine.
Dr. Joe Njoroge, Head of the ABAC Department of History and Political Science, said that ABAC students are also headed to law school.
“We have been able to assist several students who are going to very good law schools,” Njoroge said.
The list includes Alexus Holton from Griffin, Hannah Green from Hiram, and Savannah Hartley from Glenwood, all attending the Mercer University School of Law. ABAC History and Government graduate Hannah Robinson from Statesboro is attending the Michigan State University Law School, where she is receiving a scholarship which covers most of her tuition.
Njoroge said Taylor Swindell from Live Oak, Fla., attends the Faulkner University School of Law, and Mary Sirmans from Donalsonville is going to law school at Liberty University.
Other ABAC graduates headed to professional schools include Grant Hudson from Chula, a former vocalist in the Voices of ABAC, who has gained early admission to the Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine. Miranda Somers from Macon, another ABAC bachelor’s degree in biology graduate, is enrolled at the South University Physician’s Assistant program.
Megan Shannon from Dublin is pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Georgia Southern University, and Amanda Mohammed from Snellville attends Emory University, which offers one of the top public health programs in the nation. A rural community development major at ABAC, Mohammed is aiming for a master’s degree in public health.
Six other ABAC students laid the foundation for their medical school careers this summer when they participated in the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Pathway to Medical School program.
Falcone said the students included Abby Unger from Douglas, Tyler White from Douglas, Trey Doss from Tifton, Breanna Green from Tifton, Kristi Guerrero from Moultrie, and Makayla Paulk from Willacoochee.
“It was a very selective program,” Falcone said. “Out of the 10 students admitted for the entire program, six were from ABAC, three were from the University of Georgia, and one was from Georgia Southwestern.”
AHEC’s Pathway to Medical School is a four-week residential program which prepares students for medical school by offering them clinical and research experiences, as well as networking opportunities, campus tours, mock interviews, and more.
So the next time you go to your friendly neighborhood doctor, lawyer, dentist, pharmacist, or veterinarian, ask them where they went to college. ABAC alumni are everywhere.