As a student at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Tommy Rappold is pursuing his dream of a meaningful life. And for that, he credits UVa. “When I think about where I am now,” he says, “it’s so obvious to me that things would not have turned out the way they did without the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program
There was nothing the matter with what Rappold had been doing—except it wasn’t satisfying. After graduating from Clemson with a degree in computer information systems, he landed a position at GE, where he was being groomed for a leadership position in software management and implementation.
“I learned a lot from my time with GE—communication, management, and team-building skills—but at the end of the day I wasn’t making the kind of difference that mattered to me,” he says. Rappold had always been attracted to medicine—and a Google search took him to UVa’s Post-Bac web site. Coming to Charlottesville and meeting the program’s staff confirmed his decision to apply. “I was immediately impressed by how friendly and helpful they were,” he recalls.
As he soon came to realize, it’s the caliber of the people staffing a post-bac program who make the difference. “UVa is a great school academically and the teaching is awesome,” he says. “But when I talk to medical students who enrolled in other post-bac programs, the real difference is the amount of support they received from the staff.” At every step of the way, from dealing with the stresses of classwork to preparing for medical school interviews, Rappold found UVa's Post-Bac faculty and staff to be both welcoming and ready with insightful and helpful advice.
Now entering his third year of medical school, Rappold plans to take a year off to research surgical capacity in sub-Saharan Africa before returning to complete the program. After that, he is considering a residency in surgery, perhaps with a global health focus. But as he insists, “If it weren’t for UVa, I wouldn’t have those choices.”