Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

MAMS Memoirs

Luke Davis, Class of 2020

"The MAMS program has made all the difference in my life. Before Loyola, I had failed to gain entrance into any medical school with only one interview in two prior admission cycles. Now, only two years after starting MAMS, I have interviewed at five medical schools and will be starting school at one of my top choices this August.  Without a doubt, my acceptance into medical school would not have been possible without the guidance of MAMS faculty. All of their advice was individualized to my unique history and resume needs. Every step of the way, someone was there to help me make big decisions as thoughtfully as possible. Careful consideration was taken by my counselors in helping me decide when best to apply to medical school, where to apply, how to craft my primary/secondary applications, and even how to spend my extracurricular time during/after MAMS.  In the classroom, my instructors focused their time teaching some of the hardest concepts in science so that the MCAT would later seem like a walk in the park. This effective teaching approach eventually led to a significant ten-point increase in my MCAT score, a result shared by most of my colleagues! Outside the classroom, I felt tremendous support from classmates as we all wanted to help each other get through difficult subject material. Whenever late-night studying was necessary, one friend or another was always willing to join me for a midnight session at the library. And, these friendships did not halt at graduation. To this day, I still speak regularly with several of my compatriots.  After MAMS, I found myself fortunate enough to quickly land a clinical job when jobs were scarce mid-COVID crisis. The clinicians found the reputation of MAMS added on my resume as just another reason they could mitigate risk by hiring me.

For the learning experience, the counseling, and the comradery with other MAMSers, I give the people behind MAMS all the credit for helping me reach my goal of entering medical school to eventual become a medical doctor."



 Isabella Milejczyk, Class of 2021

"I can’t say enough positive things about the MAMS program. The rigorous curriculum allowed me to master foundational scientific concepts and refine my critical thinking and analytical skills, not only preparing me for medical school courses, but also helped me improve my MCAT score tremendously. The MAMS program also offers extensive opportunities for professional development including personal statement writing workshops, mock interviews, and helping students find volunteer opportunities. With the help of the MAMS faculty, I was able to find the perfect opportunity at the Old Irving Park community clinic where I gained valuable clinical experience working with uninsured populations.

 As a first time applicant, the whole process was extremely daunting, however the workshops and advising sessions provided by the MAMS program prepared me for each step of the process. Through weekly presentations from various medical school admissions officers, I learned about the specific features of each program helping me to decide which schools I wanted to apply to as well as the specific qualities each school was looking for in applicants.

However, what makes this program really special is the sense of community created by the MAMS faculty, students, and alumni. Coming from a large undergraduate university, I was used to a competitive environment so it was very refreshing to be surrounded by people who were willing to collaborate and work together toward a common goal as well as faculty that genuinely cared for their students. Everyone was more than happy to share study strategies and resources that worked for them as well as their notes and anki decks. I was also lucky to be part of an amazing study group who supported me throughout the year allowing me to grow immensely as a student and person. I met so many smart, kind, and passionate people in this program, many of whom have become my close friends and have continued to be there for me after graduation."



 John Myers, Class of 2020

"I started MAMS in August 2020 following a failed application cycle. Despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and online format of classes I believe MAMS was a vital step in my path to medical school. Although the immediate goal for many students in the program, at least initially, is to simply get an acceptance to medical school, it was clear that our professors had the future in mind in delivery of the curriculum - not only to prepare us to succeed in medical school, but begin the process of molding students into physicians. Dr. Pickett and his Medical Ethics course come to mind in this regard, analyzing several cases over the course of a semester that many physicians encounter in practice. I found the courses tough but crucial in preparing for medical school. As a re-applicant several years removed from undergraduate studies, MAMS allowed me to showcase that I am able to withstand the academic rigors of medical school. My peers played an important role and we often shared studying styles or tips and resources in an environment not unlike team-based learning settings that are common at many medical schools. In spite of online classes there was no difficulty making friends or study groups, and I was able to move to Chicago in between semesters and have in-person study sessions. Additionally, I found that advising from faculty was open, honest, and accommodating - I had weaknesses in my application and writing, but through advising I was able to address these issues prior to applying so that I was able to present the best version of myself to medical school admissions committees. Being multiple years removed from undergraduate pre-health committees and advising, advising was able to provide the focus and direction that I had lacked during my first application cycle. And most importantly, everyone involved with MAMS believed I could become a competent physician, and with their continued support, I am taking the first step in doing so after being accepted to medical school."




 Anoop Thakore, Class of 2021

"Going into the MAMS program I was hoping to simply learn the course material, be exposed to medical school-level instruction, and hopefully make it through.  What I was not expecting was to grow as a student and future doctor. The rigor of the courses encouraged me to update my study habits and overcome weaknesses I had not addressed during my undergraduate education. At each turn, I was challenged by new material, but I never felt hopeless. This was because the program encouraged me to learn how to manage that level of work without becoming overwhelmed. Developing this aptitude has helped me beyond classes or studying for the MCAT, improving my professional life as well.

 Throughout my undergraduate education, I never had faculty I felt truly close to, that I could come to regularly for advice. MAMS was an abrupt change from this. Students are put in touch with multiple faculty who are able to provide guidance throughout the program. I always had a reputable source of information whenever I needed it. In addition, the pre-health program helps to keep you on track with medical school applications. The sum of all of these resources was that instead of wondering if I was doing enough for my application, I knew that I was. 

 I joined the MAMS program while COVID-19 case numbers were high, and consequently, our classes were online. It was only natural that I was not expecting to find a community through the program, but my assumption was incorrect. The professors and advisors spend the time to make themselves available, and I felt that I developed a relationship with several of them. They also did an excellent job of creating a collaborative environment. We were encouraged to work alongside our classmates instead of compete with them. The end result was that I ended up making several great friends throughout the program, and we helped each other get through the more difficult parts of the year. The connections I found in MAMS have lasted beyond graduation. "


Stephanie Koo, Class of 2021

"I came to MAMS with several years of work experience in the medical research field under my belt, but I knew that I needed to strengthen my academics before being ready for the rigors of medical school. Completing MAMS during the pandemic added another level of difficulty to this year, but I can honestly say that in overcoming those difficulties, I've matured into a student and future physician that I am proud to be. The academics were tough, so developing a set of study strategies that worked for me was instrumental for success. The professional workshops and volunteer experiences encouraged by the program also continued my professional development. Becoming a physician means being a well-rounded person who cares about their community, which MAMS fully recognizes and values.

 Dr. Franks, Lauren, my pod advisor Dr. Buldak, and the many, many amazing professors were always willing to help when I had questions or advice. I felt completely heard and comfortable to ask for assistance, no matter if my concern was related to academics, applying to medical school, job-hunting after the program, or maintaining a healthy mindset. Applying to medical school is a difficult process, and having people that you trust to bounce ideas off of, glean advice from, and pinpointing areas of improvement was instrumental to getting my application in great shape by the time I applied in the summer after MAMS.

I never thought that I would form such close bonds through Zoom, but the way the program encourages group work and studying made it easy to get to know my classmates from the get-go. Our class was always willing to share study strategies, run study and interest groups, and commiserate through hard times. I've made lifelong friends through the program and the support that we give each other, as like-minded service-oriented people with the goal of medical school, is unlike any other experience I've had."