A new way to welcome the Class of 2024

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The College of Osteopathic Medicine is excited to welcome #SpartanDO2024, the incoming class of first-year medical students, beginning June 8. As with so many events these past few months, staff and faculty have had to reimagine past traditions and find new ways to translate the excitement, fun community-building atmosphere, and meaningful initial meetings of orientation week.

“The Class of 2024 and the format of this year’s orientation has inspired us to build a community of connectivity in a different and more sustainable way than we’ve ever thought of before,” shares Dr. Katherine M. Ruger, associate dean, admissions and student life. “I’m really excited about that.” This will be a semester unlike any other in the history of the college or of MSU, and the team behind the orientation week activities is confident that these engaging experiences, combined with the resilient and enthusiastic attitude of incoming first-year students, will make for a successful entry into the world of osteopathic medicine.

“One of my favorite things about MSUCOM as a whole is the way first-year students are eased into the program,” shares incoming first-year student Lena Bazzi. “This is evident in the way the college is presenting orientation week activities. I am excited to spend the week learning more about what to expect from the next four years and also getting to know my classmates and faculty.” Lena attended Wayne State University and practices yoga to stay grounded and connect her mind and body.

The virtual orientation will pilot many enhanced engagement opportunities for students. In lieu of small, in-person breakout groups, newly admitted students have instead been able to attend a series of site-specific introductory events online, and will be assigned to core MSUCOMmunities of 16-20 students, paired with faculty mentors. These communities will be a key platform for students to build strong connections with one another and receive coaching for the next two years. Presenters including Dean Amalfitano, peer mentors, the Student Osteopathic Medicine Association (SOMA), Sigma Sigma Phi, and second-year students will be using custom-branded virtual Zoom backgrounds of iconic locations around the college during breakout and mentoring sessions. Students will introduce themselves virtually over social media with a photo showing themselves engaged in a hobby. Many of the activities will be shared over social media using the hashtags #SpartanDO2024, #OrientationWeek, and #GoGreen.

“I am excited to join a community of like-minded, patient-centered, passionate future physicians at MSUCOM,” shared Nathan Bautista, an incoming OMS-1 student who completed his undergraduate education at the University of California at Los Angeles. Nathan appreciates being able to start medical school while at home in Los Angeles, where the virtual orientation week wellness activities will fit in with his time spent hiking, fishing, cooking, reading, and playing basketball, piano, and chess. “During times of difficulty and change, the types of physicians being fostered at MSUCOM are ones needed in the community to promote change, provide stability, and give healing to those that need it most.” With a passion to serve underserved communities, Nathan is certain that “the four years at MSUCOM will be absolutely life-changing and pivotal to helping me develop into the physician the community needs. I am honored to be a part of the Spartan family. Go Green!”

Jazmine Noles, a first-generation college graduate who has been highly engaged with the College of Osteopathic Medicine throughout her high school and undergraduate years at MSU through the Detroit Future DOcs, Osteopathic Medicine Scholarship Program and OsteoCHAMP programs, says, “I couldn’t imagine calling anywhere else home for my medical school. I’m very happy I chose a school that is genuinely supportive of people of color. The staff always reaches out to see how you feel and ask how they can improve. They value your feelings and opinions.” In thinking about what the medical school experience will be like for the Class of 2024, she replies, “We’re going through a time of drastic change in the world and diving into the hardest material we’ve ever experienced, and now we’re experiencing it together—we might even be the strongest class MSUCOM has ever had!”

For questions regarding orientation week, contact Dr. Katherine Ruger at ruger@msu.edu.