Rising to the Challenge
They come to us from undergraduate schools like Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Notre Dame and, of course, the University of Michigan. For many, this is their first time in Ann Arbor. For others, this has been home—or close to home—for a long
time. These 170 men and women of the Medical School’s incoming class of 2011 have come from every corner of the country to study medicine at Michigan. And in just a few weeks, these doctors-in-training will begin meeting patients for the first time.
But first, they will meet each other.
One tradition that unites a diverse incoming Medical School class is participation each August in the U-M Challenge Program—an outing where students build trust and a sense of community through activities that are physically challenging, such as the ropes course, and intellectually stimulating, such as exercises in creative problem-solving.
“During the Challenge, students learn to rely on each other for help; it’s exactly what they will be doing as classmates over the next four years, and as they evolve into physicians and researchers,” says Elizabeth Petty, M.D., associate dean for student programs.
Choosing each incoming class is a group effort, according to Steven Gay, M.D., assistant dean for admissions. The faculty, admissions staff and current medical students all play a role and are guided by the School’s unwavering commitment to attract the best and brightest in a manner that reflects diversity at every level. While the majority of this year’s incoming class earned undergraduate degrees in the sciences, others have backgrounds in engineering, the humanities, business and economics. And one is a former massage therapist.
“The members of this class, like most of our incoming classes, are high achieving. This group stands out because they have a great deal of leadership experience already, especially in global and community service, and in research,” says Petty.
“These students are enormously knowledgeable about their place in the world and what they can do to affect it. Each is committed to making and influencing change, whether it’s taking health care to the next level, influencing public policy or helping to solve societal problems,” says Gay.
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