Profiles
Francisco  (Paco) Aguilar, M.D.
Francisco (Paco) Aguilar, M.D.
Clinical Fellow, Cardiology
Tufts Medical Center

On tHE bRYN MAWR pOSTBAC pROGRAM

“It gives me joy that I have become a physician after a journey that began 10 years ago at Bryn Mawr. I look back at my experience at Bryn Mawr and wonder what would have happened if I had gone somewhere else? Perhaps I would have reached the same goals, but I think I had a leg up because of the experiences and support I had at Bryn Mawr, including Director Jodi Domsky’s confidence in me. She was able to help me become aware of the qualities that were going to enable me to become a good physician.”
RESIDENCY: YALE-NEW HAVEN HOSPITAL,
INTERNAL MEDICINE; CHIEF RESIDENT
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICAL SCHOOL,
M.D.
2002
POSTBAC CLASS OF 1997
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY,
B.B.S. ACCOUNTING
1993

Read more about Paco in “Dialogues.”
Lauren Antler
Lauren Antler

As an undergraduate at Brown, Lauren spent a lot of her extracurricular time working with underserved children. After graduation, Lauren worked as a teacher with Teach for America in Greenville, Mississippi. She then moved to New York, where she served as a research assistant for a pediatric endocrinologist at Columbia University. Prior to applying to the Bryn Mawr postbac program, she spent two years as a kindergarten teacher in Brooklyn, New York. During her postbac year, Lauren volunteered at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with Reach Out and Read, a national early literacy program which incorporates reading into pediatric primary care. During the glide year after completing the postbac program while applying to medical school, Lauren worked for the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, which has provided many postbac students opportunities during their glide year.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2014
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2009
BROWN UNIVERSITY,
B.A., HISTORY, 2002

Richard (Dickie) Bower
Richard (Dickie) Bower

On The Bryn Mawr Postbac Program

“The Bryn Mawr postbac program has a personal touch—the program is just small enough that everyone knows everyone else, including the professors. It is a very challenging year, both academically and emotionally, as you wait for acceptance into medical school. But Bryn Mawr treats you as a person, not a number.”

On Peers and Staff Support

“One of the things I enjoyed about Bryn Mawr was the accessibility of academic help, including direct access to the professors, peer support, and informal study groups with classmates.”

On Medical School Linkages

“Bryn Mawr offers more opportunities for medical school linkages than any other school. Through the consort program, I made contacts with several Bryn Mawr postbac alumni at Dartmouth Medical School, who were able to answer many of my questions. That was a very helpful and positive advantage.”
DARTMOUTH MEDICAL SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2008
UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY,
B.S. MATHEMATICS
1999
As a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, Dickie served in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, most recently as company commander in Iraq. He enrolled at Dartmouth Medical School through Bryn Mawr’s consort program and was awarded a Naval scholarship under the Health Professions Scholarship Program. Upon graduation, he will return to active duty. While he was a student in Bryn Mawr’s postbac program, Dickie was a volunteer at the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center, Philadelphia, a primary-care HIV practice.
Hollin  Calloway
Hollin Calloway

On Learning Outside the Classroom

“I have an EMT certificate, so I volunteered for Radnor Ambulance Company as a Bryn Mawr postbac. It was a great experience working and talking with patients, and it reminded me why I want to be a doctor. It brought me back to the real world.”

On Peers and the Bryn Mawr Community

“One of the things I loved about the program was the other students. We had a really good class—my study group was the best group of people; they were all so smart. I made some good friends at Bryn Mawr, and I think I’ll be in touch with them for the rest of my life.”
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CHAPEL HILL, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS 2007
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE,
B.A. ART AND MATHEMATICS
2000
After graduating from Dartmouth, Hollin earned a specialized degree in digital visual media and worked as a 3-D computer graphics artist. She volunteered with Art for Life, working with pediatric oncology inpatients, and earned an EMT certificate before applying to Bryn Mawr. As a Bryn Mawr postbac student, she was a volunteer EMT. During the glide year after completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, she worked as a research assistant for a study of genetic modifiers in cystic fibrosis at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, which has provided glide-year opportunities for many students who have completed the Bryn Mawr postbac program.
Brendan Carr, M.D.
Brendan Carr, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Epidemiology and Surgery
University of Pennsylvania

On tHE bRYN mAWR pOSTBAC pROGRAM

“There are very few decisions in life that lead us down a path that is dramatically different from where we were going. My decision to go to the Bryn Mawr postbac program was one of those moments. What is special about the program is it gives you the opportunity to remain who you are while allowing you to emerge as who you are going to be in the medical realm. You are embraced for being different and special.”
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA,
M.S. HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH 2008
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE,
M.D.
2001
POSTBAC CLASS OF 1997
LOYOLA COLLEGE IN MARYLAND,
B.A. PSYCHOLOGY
1994,
M.A. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
1996

Read more about Brendan in “Dialogues.”

Gregory  Charak
Gregory Charak, PH.D.

On The Bryn Mawr Postbac Program

“If you come in with an open mind and lots of enthusiasm, and you find ways to sustain that—as one of my great professors at Bryn Mawr said, ‘Don’t panic!’—I think the rest takes care of itself, especially at Bryn Mawr. The program is so well designed, the teaching is great, and the support is phenomenal. There are so many opportunities throughout the year for outside exposure to medicine through volunteering. If you just go with it and stay excited about it, everything else just happens.”

On Faculty

“The faculty members were the most impressive aspect of my year at Bryn Mawr. Not only are their expertise and research tremendous, but so are their teaching quality and accessibility. Any time you have a question or concern, by the end of the day you are talking face-to-face with a professor. We had a great relationship with our professors.”

On Staff Support

“It quickly becomes clear that you are in wise, experienced hands. The director, Jodi Domsky, and her staff have it down to a science. Just at the appropriate times, you are given forewarning, and then notice, and then options, and then a meeting. That’s nice in a year that can be hectic and nerve-wracking. They are working and preparing things for you, and often all you have to do is respond. You are free to think about your decisions.”

On Medical School Linkages

“Bryn Mawr has linkage agreements with so many great schools, and that was really impressive. I was a little older than most when I began the postbac program, so I was eager to start med school—and it’s such a superb opportunity, it’s hard to pass up.”

On Peers and The Bryn Mawr Community

“My peers at Bryn Mawr were a diverse group from all over the country, very bright, enthusiastic, friendly, and accomplished, and extremely motivated and talented in class. We quickly became a community, and there was a lot of excitement among us about our future. Intramural sports—ultimate Frisbee, soccer, basketball—were a key part of the year for my class.”
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2008
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SAN DIEGO,
PH.D. PHILOSOPHY
2007
BOSTON UNIVERSITY,
B.A. PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
2002

Read more about Greg in “Dialogues.”
Rachel Haynes Coombs
Rachel Haynes Coombs

Rachel devoted significant time as an undergraduate at Brown to the study of languages. She studied Chinese through an intensive summer immersion program at Middlebury College, and then she spent a semester abroad through the Yale University program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Following graduation, Rachel worked on an organic dairy farm and volunteered with a syringe exchange program. Exploring her growing interest in healthcare, Rachel trained as a midwife at the Birthwise Midwifery School. Prior to beginning her postbac studies, Rachel worked as a midwife in New Hampshire and at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center as a research assistant in a radiology laboratory. Rachel was admitted to Dartmouth Medical School through Bryn Mawr’s consort program.

DARTMOUTH MEDICAL SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2014
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2009
BROWN UNIVERSITY,
B.A., EAST ASIAN STUDIES, 2002

Tamara  Davis, Ph.D.
Tamara Davis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

On Students

"Postbac students are great to work with as a faculty member, because they are so motivated to learn. They are thinking constantly during lectures and synthesizing the information. They want to take the subject to a deeper level of understanding. That's phenomenal."
Dr. Davis teaches several biology classes to Bryn Mawr postbac students. Her research, which focuses on the mechanisms of genomic imprinting, has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and published in Science, Genomics and other leading research publications.
Kathleen  Degnan
Kathleen Degnan

On Peers and The Bryn Mawr Community

“I loved going to school with people who were so passionate about their new career choice. The postbacs had a very strong sense of community. Everyone was friendly and willing to help one another. I could go to the library at night and sit down with any one of my classmates to talk about a concept or ask for their help. It was a great experience.”

On Staff Support

“The academic advising and support were fantastic. The director, Jodi Domsky, was always there if I had any questions. Even during my glide year, she was readily available by e-mail to answer questions and offer helpful advice about my medical school applications and interviews.”

On Learning outside The Classroom

“The glide year was the best option for me. I was younger than most of my classmates, so it was a benefit to gain more experience and practical knowledge before applying to medical school. I think that my year of research experience helped to set me apart from younger applicants. I think it also will be very helpful to have research experience when I am applying for residencies and fellowships.”

On The Bryn Mawr Postbac Program

“I loved Bryn Mawr’s postbac program; it was a great year—very challenging, rigorous, and fast-paced. But the professors made the courses so interesting—geared to our interest in medicine—and they were always available to help us. We had so much fun as a class! We organized parties, went out for dinner, and just hung out together. It was a nice break from the work.”
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2007
NOTRE DAME,
B.B.A., FINANCE
2006
During college, Kathleen did a summer internship as a research assistant in molecular biology at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, a nonprofit, basic biomedical research institution in Camden, N.J. During the glide year between completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, she worked as a research assistant for a study of secondary radiation effects in survivors of Hodgkin's lymphoma in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which has provided glide-year opportunities for many students who have completed the Bryn Mawr postbac program.
Ebony Dix
Ebony Dix

On The Bryn Mawr Postbac Program

“I chose Bryn Mawr because of its solid reputation, excellent support system, and guidance in preparing students for the MCAT and the medical school application process. Bryn Mawr exceeded my expectations. The director, Jodi Domsky, and her staff got to know all of us on a one-to-one level. They really wanted us to succeed and fulfill our dream of becoming physicians. Any time I had an issue or problem, they would sit down with me and figure out a solution and a plan.”
ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON MEDICAL SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2006
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY,
B.A. MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES/ECONOMICS
2003
After graduating from Columbia, Ebony worked in the financial industry and volunteered in a hospital emergency department. During the glide year between completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, she was a research assistant working on cancer and infertility research for a reproductive endocrinologist at Cooper Hospital in Camden, New Jersey.

Hollis (Tag) Hopkins
Hollis (Tag) Hopkins

On The Bryn Mawr Postbac Program

“I started medical school when I was 28, unlike a lot of students, who had just come from college or taken one year off at the most. The first year was quite daunting. But I was up to the pace in my study and time-management skills after my year at Bryn Mawr.”
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO MEDICAL SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2011
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2006
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY,
B.S., CIVIL ENGINEERING
2002
While enrolled full time at Northwestern, Tag also completed paramedic training and worked full time for an ambulance service in Chicago. After graduation, he continued working as a paramedic in Chicago and Boulder, Colorado. During the glide year between completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, Tag worked as a flight medic with Flight for Life Colorado, a helicopter service in Frisco, Colorado.
Elizabeth  (Libby) Houle
Elizabeth (Libby) Houle

On Learning outside The Classroom

“Bryn Mawr offers many different volunteer opportunities; there were enough options that I was able to find something that met my interests and schedule. My volunteer work at a women’s health clinic in Philadelphia was an important part of my experience as a postbac student.”

On The Curriculum

“Bryn Mawr prepared me very well for medical school and residency training. The postbac program was academically rigorous and the volume of material seemed daunting, but the support I received from my professors helped me to develop confidence.”
RESIDENCY: JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, OPHTHALMOLOGY
YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2008
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2002
SWARTHMORE COLLEGE,
B.A. FRENCH
1998
After graduating from Swarthmore, Libby taught emotionally disturbed children and then traveled to Katmandu, Nepal, where she spent a year helping rural people gain access to health care. As a Bryn Mawr postbac student, she volunteered at a women’s health clinic in Philadelphia. During the glide year between completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, she participated in an intensive Spanish-language program in Guatemala. As a student at Yale Medical School, Libby was awarded a 2006 Fogarty International Center /Ellison Overseas Fellowships in Global Health and Clinical Research to participate in National Institutes of Health-funded clinical AIDS research in Chennai, India.
Rebecca  G. Lindsay
Rebecca G. Lindsay

On the Bryn Mawr Postbac Experience

“There are so many built-in mechanisms within the Bryn Mawr postbac program to help you succeed, including exam reviews, student study groups, and peer tutoring. We were encouraged to study together and cooperate, but you can certainly find whatever suits your learning style: if you’re an individual, solo studier, you can do that, but you also have the options of going to group exam reviews, or forming your own study group.”
U.C. BERKELEY/U.C. SAN FRANCISCO JOINT MEDICAL PROGRAM, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2006
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (U.C.) BERKELEY,
B.A. URBAN STUDIES AND PUBLIC HEALTH
2005
During her last summer in college, Rebecca worked as a research assistant in the Bronx, New York, for the Department of Family and Social Medicine of Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She also served as a volunteer with a joint primary care and harm-reduction program that provided services to formerly homeless people living with HIV, who were transitional residents of single-room-occupancy hotels. As a Bryn Mawr postbac student, she volunteered at Ride for World Health, which organized a cross-country bike trip to raise money to improve access to health care. During the glide year between completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, Rebecca worked as a perinatal health educator in a community health clinic in Santa Rosa, California. She is working toward her medical degree and Master’s of Health and Medical Science in U.C.’s five-year joint medical program.
William  P. Malachowski, Ph.D.
William P. Malachowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry

On Students

“Bryn Mawr postbacs are excellent students. They are very focused and motivated, with a real appreciation for the subject and a passion for learning. As an educator, I find them exciting and fun to teach.”
“Many postbacs have returned to school to study medicine after pursuing another career, and they love learning a subject that stimulates and challenges them with difficult, abstract concepts.”

On Teaching

“I often draw parallels between the analyses of organic chemical reactions, which have subtle differences indicating different outcomes, and the process by which a physician studies a patient’s symptoms, orders the proper tests, and analyzes the results to determine an accurate diagnosis from among several possible causes.”
Dr. Malachowski has taught Organic Chemistry to Bryn Mawr postbac students since 2000. His research into the development of new therapeutics for the treatment of diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative conditions, has been funded by the National Cancer Institute and National Science Foundation. His work is published in the Journal of Medical Chemistry and other leading journals. Dr. Malachowski and his colleagues hold three patents on novel compounds and methods.

Brendan McCleary
Brendan McCleary
As an undergraduate, Brendan worked for two years as a research assistant in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He also volunteered as a tutor to children of Mexican farm workers in rural Virginia through the Madison House Migrant Aid Tutoring. Following graduation, Brendan served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural El Salvador. Brendan was initially assigned to work in the sectors of forestry and environmental education, but he soon found himself more focused on the medical needs of his community. As a result Brendan became involved with eye health campaigns and reproductive health education for his village. Brendan was admitted to the University of Rochester School of Medicine through Bryn Mawr’s consort program. During his postbac year, Brendan continued to use his Spanish language skills as a regular volunteer at the Puentes de Salud free health clinic in Philadelphia.
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2013
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2009
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINA,
B.A., PSYCHOLOGY/SPANISH, 2005

Meredith  Pensak
Meredith Pensak

On Faculty and Staff Support

“I loved the faculty at Bryn Mawr. You could tell they were involved and enjoyed teaching postbac students. They knew our ultimate goal, and that we might need a little more help along the way, and they were always very receptive to answering questions and offering advice outside the classroom. I never felt alone; if I needed to, I could walk into any of their offices and they’d be there to help, and that was very reassuring.”

On Medical School Linkages

“Bryn Mawr arranges for postbacs to visit the consort schools. It was extremely helpful. I think it would be really hard to pick a place—especially so early in the postbac process—without seeing it and getting a real feel for it.”

On Peers and the Bryn Mawr Community

“I was so impressed by my peers—by their backgrounds, by their maturity level, and by the camaraderie among the students. Bryn Mawr was a very cooperative environment, in which other students were always ready to explain things and help each other learn. It was a really good feeling that we were all in it together, and everyone was going to make it through.”
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2012
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2008
WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY,
B.A. LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
2004

After graduating from Wesleyan, Meredith served as a Peace Corps Community Health volunteer in rural Lluchubamba, Peru. As a Bryn Mawr postbac student, she volunteered at Puentes de Salud, a Philadelphia health clinic. She enrolled at the University of Rochester through Bryn Mawr’s consort program.
Ben Robbins
Ben Robbins

As an undergraduate at Dartmouth, Ben’s interest in Africa was inspired by his internship in the office of U.S. Senator Russell Feingold. Ben was awarded a competitive Dickey Center internship grant through Dartmouth to travel to Africa to work in a pediatric HIV/AIDS clinic in Tanzania. Through this experience, Ben and a colleague started SALAMA: Tanzania, a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of HIV orphaned children. Their organization has raised tens of thousands of dollars, and has helped support the funding of new construction projects and contributed to the salaries of two new teachers. During his postbac year, Ben returned to Tanzania as a crew photographer with Old Dog Documentaries, an organization that is developing a film about work in Tanzania.

In his glide year, after completing the postbac program while applying to medical school, Ben was selected as one of the twelve recent Dartmouth graduates for the Richard D. Lombard Public Service Fellowship, which enabled him to return to Tanzania to work on several projects for the Bibi Jann School.

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2014
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2009
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE,
B.A., PSYCHOLOGY, 2008

Robert Stern
Robert Stern

Rob was an NCAA Academic All American tennis player at Carleton College as an undergraduate, where he spent his summers working for a biotech company on the utilization of DNA tools in forensic analysis. Following his graduation, Rob worked as a paralegal for a law firm in Washington, D.C. Rob was admitted to the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine through Bryn Mawr’s consort program. During his postbac year, Rob volunteered with Community Volunteers in Medicine, a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive medical care for the uninsured working poor.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRITZKER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2013
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2009
CARLETON COLLEGE,
B.A., RELIGION, 2006
Sonya Tat
Sonya Tat

On Faculty and Staff Support

“I really appreciated the fact that the director, Jodi Domsky, and her staff were highly skilled and well organized. Jodi held regular meetings for us that kept us on track as far as where we should be on the timeline for medical school. Without that guidance, it would have taken a lot of time and effort to do that research on our own. Jodi and her staff were available any time we wanted to talk about anything. Even during the glide year, I could call Jodi or e-mail her any time.”
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2013
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2008
BROWN UNIVERSITY,
B.A. COMMUNITY HEALTH
2005
After graduating from Brown, Sonya was awarded a fellowship by Princeton in Asia to work with Population Services International in Bangkok, Thailand, in an HIV-prevention program focusing on high-risk populations, including drug users and sex workers. As a Bryn Mawr postbac student, she volunteered at Chinatown Medical Services, Philadelphia. During the glide year between completing the postbac program and enrolling in medical school, Sonya worked as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn (SUNY Downstate).
Kate  Diaz Vickery, M.D.
Kate Diaz Vickery, M.D.

On Learning outside The Classroom

“While I was a student in Bryn Mawr’s postbac program, I was a volunteer in the House of Grace Free Clinic in Philadelphia, which was a great opportunity to learn to interact with people from all walks of life. My international and cross-cultural experiences—being in an environment where you are very unfamiliar and learning how to navigate—helped to prepare me for my family medicine residency.”

On Staff Support

“The supportive academic environment at Bryn Mawr helped me gain confidence and become successful in learning the sciences, and Jodi, the postbac program’s director, and her staff made it very easy for me to navigate the process of applying to medical school. That was a unique advantage I found at Bryn Mawr.”
RESIDENCY: UNITED FAMILY MEDICINE PROGRAM, UNITED HOSPITAL AND ALLINA HEALTH SYSTEM, ST. PAUL, MINN., FAMILY MEDICINE
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2008
POSTBAC CLASS OF 2004
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME,
B.A. LIBERAL STUDIES
2002
As a student in the University of Rochester Medical School, Kate was a volunteer in its student-run free clinic, UR Well, and helped to expand its reach to provide services to the homeless population of Rochester. She was admitted to the University of Rochester Medical School through Bryn Mawr’s consort program. During college, Kate spent a summer in Mexico as a tutor and health educator with the Maryknoll Missioners.
Sarah Winters, M.D.
Sarah Winters, M.D.
Pediatrician
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

On The BRYN mAWR pOSTBAC pROGRAM

“The Bryn Mawr postbac program was a nurturing environment for me to study the sciences. With small classes taught by accessible professors and individualized support, Bryn Mawr was the perfect place for me to have taken that on.”
RESIDENCY: CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA, PEDIATRICS
GENERAL PEDIATRICS RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP: CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIATEMPLE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, CLASS OF 2002
POSTBAC CLASS OF 1997
HARVARD UNIVERSITY,
B.A. AMERICAN HISTORY
1995

Read more about Sarah in “Dialogues.”