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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Robert Coffman, OMS III
Class of 2025 - RVUCOM-UT
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2025

Campus Location
Southern Utah Campus

Hometown:
Normalville, PA

Undergraduate studies:
Exercise Science

Graduate studies:
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences at RVU

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
SIM scholar club, Ultrasound society, ACOFP, ROAD, Sports Medicine interest, and hopefully the Rural and Wilderness track

Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Robert but a lot of people call me Bobby. I grew up in a small Appalachian mountain town where I discovered my love for exploring the outdoors. This took me west to the Rocky Mountains where I attended the University of Utah. Which is where I made so many amazing friends and gained too many hobbies. My family still lives in Pennsylvania so I am thankful to have the great friends I do here at RVU.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was initially brought to RVU because I wanted to stay in Utah but wanted to attend an osteopathic medical school. I pursued the MSBS first because I had been out of school for a while and wanted a program that got me ready for medical school but also was a MS degree and not just a certificate. Once I met Dr. Brooks and saw how genuinely he cared for his students to succeed, I was sold.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
When I am not studying or in class I like to explore the amazing hiking, cycling, paddle boarding, and mountain biking that surround RVU-SU. The scenery here is absolutely stunning and Dr. Brooks always has a hike set up if I can make it. I look forward to seeing how the skiing is at Brian Head resort this winter!

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
An interesting fact about me is that I can ski backwards down double-black diamonds (in control).

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
ANKi…. Lol JK. I would say it’s Dr. Towne telling us and then making us tell ourselves “I belong here.” Getting over the imposter syndrome was so crucial for me to get my footing and start adapting to this new challenge.

What are your medical interests?
As of now I like too much. All I can say is that whatever and where ever I end up I know I want to incorporate an ultrasound into my care.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Finally meeting all of the friends that I made in our online year of the MSBS program in person at the COM orientation.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Visit the campus and meet everyone! Only thing better than the scenery is the faculty here that want you to succeed.



Neha Lamsal
Class of 2025 - RVUCOM-CO
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2025

Campus Location
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
Centennial, CO

Undergraduate studies:
Biology and Psychology

Graduate studies:
Masters of Biomedical Sciences

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
I am a tutor for the Masters students in EBM and MBM (Utah). I am the first year representative for Global Medical Outreach and Rotary club here at RVU. I am also a member of SNMA, MSFC, and CMS. I also help with the Rocky Vista Health Clinic, so that students are able to give out booster shots to those that come to the clinic.

Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi all! My name is Neha and I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado. I have a Nepalese heritage, and love to travel! I went to college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated at the start of the pandemic in 2020. I then came to RVU's Master’s program to pursue my degree during my gap year, and now I am a first year Medical Student here at the COM!

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
The Global Medical Track was one of the main reasons that I chose to come to RVU. I know that as a future physician I want to practice medicine globally, and this track would prepare me to do so. I have also had the dream of becoming a doctor since I was in third grade and got the diagnosis of Chronic Uticaria. My pediatrician became my rock in the times I would have my blood drawn more than 3x in a day, and I confided in her with everything. I want to become that trusted individuals for all of my patients.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I love spending time with my family and friends. I take every free time we have to spend time with the people that have supported me along my journey in becoming a physician. I also love to cook cuisines from different cultures, as I think food can bring so many people together at once. Being in Colorado, I like to enjoy the nature around us and spend time in the mountains either hiking or skiing.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I love to travel, and the passion for it has led me to go to over 30 countries! I hope that as a physician I am able to serve some of the countries I have been to!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
I was once told to enjoy my time in medical school as it is going to go by fast, and to cherish the relationships I will form over the next few years!

What are your medical interests?
I am currently all over the place!! I really like surgery, pediatrics, family medicine and psychiatry!

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
So far meeting everyone in person has been great as our Master’s program was all online!

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Don't be afraid to ask for help! RVU has a great support system that is open to everyone!



Madison Bieganski, OMS II
Class of 2025 - RVUCOM-CO
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2025

Campus Location
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
Cleveland, OH

Undergraduate studies:
Biology and Chemistry

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
Global Health Outreach Club and Association of Women Surgeons

Tell us a bit about yourself
First, anyone will tell you that I am an obnoxious Cleveland sports fan, it's a love hate relationship that will never end. I also have a huge passion for music - I love it all, finding new artists and albums while listening to the classics keeps me happy. I have a running list of concerts I have been to and a bucket list of artists I want to see! My other passion is travel, I also have a bucket list of places I want to go - I would love to go to Tokyo next (of course waiting until it is safe to go and guidelines say so).

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
The tracks and opportunities to get involved in many things besides studying, allowing you to participate in things that make you feel whole. I wanted a place that emphasized you as a person, not just a medical student, and a place that where professors truly care about you. RVU fulfilled all of this. You can find something for a multitude of your interests and meet students who share those interests - it's really cool.

I have a very diverse family background in which case I have always wanted to work with different cultures. To combine that goal with my passion for medicine that began when I was 9 years old, I learned about programs like Doctors Without Borders. My main goal through all of this is to eventually teach doctors and nurses in underdeveloped countries new skills and methods - to help them better take care of their community. I can see myself spending 2-3 months every year out of the country doing this. Maybe one day I'll be able to run my own organization!

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
Doing all the fun Colorado things - I love to hike and go camping with my friends, trying to visit as many national parks as I can... and currently learning how to snowboard. I love going to Wash park to play Frisbee, volleyball and walk my furry roommate named Zoe - if you ever see us there, say hey! Per my roommates, I am average at playing the ukulele (I'm pretty rusty). I've been enjoying concerts at Red Rocks, it is something else! Lastly, I am always looking for the next fun restaurant or bar in Denver!

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I am probably one of the only Midwesterner's you would meet that is decent at surfing!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Never underestimate how much you know and how capable you are, you will surprise yourself. - Dr. Pitcher

What are your medical interests?
I tend to gravitate towards critical care oriented medicine. I am drawn to helping patients who need me at their very lowest points - being there to completely turn someone's life around for the better. I also am drawn to global medicine - as stated above. This is my biggest dream!

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Meeting all my classmates in real life for the first time, having to spend an entire year online was tough but worth it.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Don't forget your "why" when you get really stressed and busy. This will be the hardest but most fun and rewarding education yet.



Erik Melekh, OMS II
Class of 2025 - RVUCOM-CO
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2025

Campus Location
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry

Graduate studies:
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
I am involved in the SAAO+Cranial & the Ultrasound clubs, and I am planning on starting a Radiology Interest Group/Club

Tell us a bit about yourself
I come from a very diverse background. My parents were born in the Soviet Union, I was born in the U.S., but I also lived in Israel for approximately a decade. Shortly after I finished grade-school in Israel, I immigrated to Canada where I finished high-school. Since I was an American citizen, I decided I wanted to study my undergrad and graduate degrees in the U.S., as well as work there. Thanks to my diverse background, I am trilingual, I have experienced different cultures, heard varying thoughts and opinions about the world, life, and the meaning of happiness. These experiences provided me with a variety of perspectives to choose from and adopt to my identity and beliefs.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I initially chose RVU because I did really poorly on my MCAT exam; so poorly that most medical schools would not even look at my application. I had (still have) long time family friends here in Colorado who told me about RVU's MSBS program, which gave me a second chance to get into medical school instead of studying and taking the MCAT test again and hoping to get a significantly better score.

I decided to pursue the medical field when I was 12 years old after watching the TV show, "House M.D." I thought (and still do) that medicine was interesting, and I have enjoyed learning about how the body works from a young age. I decided to pursue specifically the D.O. degree because it will equip me with additional tools and knowledge that allopathic physicians may not learn. For example, OPP/OMT/OMM is a significant skill-set that focuses on the body, mind, and spirit as a single unit working together, which takes a holistic approach to treating patients instead of just finding a pathology and treating it; osteopathic medicine is about finding optimal health in an individual.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I enjoy going to the gym to get a quick break from thinking about studying. I enjoy swimming, and in the winter times I like to go snowboarding. I am also a big movie guy, but with the decrease in free time, it has become more difficult to watch anything.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
Although it sounds insignificant, I really don't like chocolate.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
You are here for a reason. There was a committee that chose 'you' to come to RVU for a reason, which means that the committee saw unlimited potential within 'you.' I believe that this advice really helps when it comes to feeling the "imposter syndrome."

What are your medical interests?
Since I was 12 years old, I wanted to pursue diagnostic radiology. I enjoyed learning about the variety of imaging technologies in physics class, as well as learning how to read some images in different systems courses in the COM.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My favorite memories from being in RVU is realizing how kind, nice, and determined the professors are to helping me achieve my goals. The professors are definitely a huge reason why I stayed in RVU for the COM program.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
My biggest advice for prospective students is take one day at a time! It is okay to be aware of what you need to get done for the week, but worry mainly about the present and make sure you are prepared for the next day, otherwise you will most likely burn-out.



Elizabeth Kuge, OMS IV
Class of 2022 - RVUCOM-CO
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022

Campus Location
Colorado Campus

Hometown:
Camarillo, CA

Undergraduate studies:
Cellular and Developmental Biology, B.S. at University of California, Santa Barbara

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
SNMA Club, Global Medicine Honors Track, Peer Mentor, SIMS Scholars, Mass Casualty Incident Research, Ultrasound Club, ACOEP Club

Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a first generation Japanese-Korean who was born and raised in Camarillo, CA. My parents own a small sushi restaurant, so I grew up learning to walk and talk while interacting with customers and watching my parents serve others. I attended Newbury Park High School where I obtained my Full International Baccalaureate diploma, and then graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2016 with my B.S. in Cellular and Developmental Biology. Afterwards, I scribed in the ED at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, CA for two years prior to matriculating at RVU!

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I wanted to stay relatively close to California, and RVU was the furthest school "east" of California that I applied to. I ended up interviewing early, and on the flight from CA to CO, I saw the mountains from the window and just fell in love. Then I saw the campus and felt nothing but great vibes, and really liked how many windows and natural light came into the building. I felt immediately welcomed here, recognized the strong sense of community, and after I went back home, RVU was the school I compared all the others to. That's how I knew I wanted to be at RVU.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
I love spending time with my cat Millie, as well as playing strategic board games, reading fiction, doing puzzles, and watching movies! When I do get outside, I enjoy hiking and finding new restaurants to try! My fiancé moved out to Colorado with me, so it's been a new experience for both of us getting to discover a new state!

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
Even though my parents have been in the sushi business since before I was born, I didn't start actually enjoying sushi until I was 20! Also, I am trained in both Hapkido and TaeKwonDo, and earned my 3rd degree black belt!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
Be yourself. It sounds like such a cheesy phrase, but it's true. If you try too hard to conform and not embrace your strengths, then you won't be happy in your own skin, and you'll always try to meet others' expectations, but not your own. My StrengthsFinder results show that my number one strength is Achieving. It wasn't until my second year that I understood this and used my strength to its fullest capacity.

What are your medical interests?
My medical interests are Emergency Medicine... and Emergency Medicine. Haha

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
My absolute favorite memory was when SNMA collaborated with Children's Hospital of Colorado and Denver Health to bring 60 underrepresented high school students to RVU's campus to immerse them in the realm of osteopathic medicine. It took months of planning, cooperation from multiple student organizations and classes on campus, and applying for a grant to financially fund the event, but seeing the impact we made on those kids is something I'll never forget!

What advice do you have for prospective students?
When you're in medical school, your time is stretched thin between maintaining your personal wellness, doing well in school, and building your career identity. Think carefully about 1-2 things you want to brand yourself with, and build your career around that. Do not apply for positions or join an extracurricular or two to boost your CV, but do things that you are passionate about that will fill your cup in med school! Also, once you're here, don't forget the big picture. It's easy to get distracted by the next quiz, next exam, or next standardized patient encounter. However, it's so important to remember why you decided to become a physician in the first place. So remind yourself every day that you worked hard and earned your spot here. You belong!

What advice do you have for prospective students?
I can't say enough about all the support I've received from our faculty, staff, administrators, and peers. Without their guidance and encouragement, I wouldn't be where I am now. Though RVU is still growing and changing, I truly believe it's the place to be! I'm very blessed to be here, and I wouldn't trade my experience for the world.



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