Loma Linda Students Share How PUC Prepared Them for Medical School

By Laura Gang on February 22, 2024

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Pacific Union College alumni Andrew Fay, Drielly Martins, and Eva Yankee, all biology graduates, are currently pursuing medical education at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. They attribute their early success in medical school to the solid foundation established during their time at PUC.

Each one praised the guidance and educational support provided by PUC’s biology department and professors and said their courses equipped them with the necessary skills and knowledge they would need to navigate the challenges of medical school.

The three students graciously answered questions and shared valuable advice for current PUC students regarding study habits and personal growth.

What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine?

Drielly Martins, originally from São Paulo, Brazil, attended Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo. Her interest in medicine was kindled in high school during a biology class when they studied the human body. “I was also drawn to a career in health care for the opportunity to serve others,” she said. “I specifically chose to pursue an MD degree because of the more intensive training and learning that comes with being a physician.”

Andrew Fay grew up in Redlands, California, and attended Redlands East Valley High School. He said his grandfather, a neurologist, influenced him growing up. “But it wasn’t until after multiple experiences shadowing some doctors I really admired late in high school and early college that helped convince me to look more seriously into medicine,” he said.

Eva Yankee, who was raised in Portland, Oregon, has many relatives in the medical field. Eva said she was introduced to the sciences early in childhood and at Oregon City High School. Still, her interest grew as she learned more about biology and the human body. Despite the challenges of medical school, Eva remains inspired and fascinated by the intricacies of human anatomy. “The ways God created the body to function are mind-blowing,” she said.

In what ways do you feel PUC prepared you for the challenges of medical school at LLU?

Andrew said PUC’s biology department prepared him especially well for medical school. For instance, after Robin Vance’s histology, Andrew said he was able to finish the cell lab at LLU consistently early and do well on practical examples.

Andrew also credited the guidance of PUC biology professors Aimee Wyrick, John Duncan, Bryan Ness, and Floyd Hayes, emphasizing their mentorship and personal support, which boosted his confidence.

Eva highlighted the rigorous biology courses and, while at PUC, learned how to manage time effectively and identified which study methods worked best for her. Eva said these strategies increased her “studying endurance”—an essential medical school asset. “Two of my favorite courses were medical microbiology and immunology from Dr. (Backil) Sung,” she said. “Completing courses like these and working hard to do well in them helps you to prove to yourself that you can do it, even if it’s difficult.”

“Beyond academics,” Drielly said, “PUC provided me with opportunities to grow as a communicator, leader, and teacher.” Drawing on her experiences as the head biology teaching assistant and the Biology Club president, she learned about teamwork and handling the unexpected. She also credits Wyrick and Ness as mentors and supporters. “Seeing the professors’ trust in me pushed me to work even harder, “ she said. “I took this work ethic with me into medical school.”

What advice would you give PUC students on the pre-med track?

“The PUC biology department offers many elective courses that will be covered again in medical school, so my advice would be to take as many as possible,” Eva said. “Even just being familiar with the concepts will save you time, and medical school will hammer in the rest of the little details—trust me.” 

She also recommended prioritizing sleep and shared that she likes to plan something fun or relaxing at the end of the week to avoid burnout. “It is key for me to have something to look forward to doing after a quiz or test,” Eva said. “It motivates me to make it to the end of the week and then gives me a good break to reset before I have to start studying again.”

Drielly also emphasized the importance of having extracurricular activities and passions outside of academics. She encouraged students to embrace difficulties. “Don’t be afraid to take on challenges,” she advised. “Pushing through a hard class or extra responsibility builds resilience.” She said students should try something new in their study routine if they aren’t getting the desired results.

Andrew said one of the major challenges of medical school is the significant time investment required to cover all of the content each week. He shared an analogy passed onto him by older medical students. “Getting through medical school is like eating a pancake every day. If you don’t eat the pancake today, you’ll have two tomorrow,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn, but breaking things up day by day is the best thing you can do to succeed.”