Returning Students Seeking Career
Win Miles McCarthy Health Professions Award
May 24, 2004 :: No. 258
A former Broadway actress seeking a career
as a physician involved in the drama of a hospital emergency room
and a registered nurse, who wants to make medical decisions for
patients as a doctor and caregiver, are winners of the 2004 Cal
State Fullerton Miles D. McCarthy Health Professions Award.
Named for a founding CSUF professor, the award is
presented to outstanding health professions students who demonstrate
high academic achievement, integrity and a commitment to serve humanity.
This year, Heidi Meyer of Fullerton and Lynell Newmarch of Monrovia
Meyer, who earned a bachelor’s
degree in theater from Northwestern University, appeared in regional
musical theater productions in the East for seven years, including
a 2 1/2-year stint on Broadway in “Miss Saigon,” where
she played the role of “Ellen” for more than 100 performances
and also sang in the chorus. She entered Cal State Fullerton in
2002 to pursue another dream of hers—to become a physician.
She enrolled in postbaccalaureate science courses
that would prepare her for medical school, earning a 4.0 grade point
average, and participated in a wide variety of volunteer activities.
Meyer has served both as a coordinator and vice president
of the Student Health Professions Association, and has taken leading
roles in blood drives, bone marrow donor programs and bringing speakers
She has been a volunteer with LIGA: Flying Doctors of Mercy, which
provides free medical clinics in Mexico, has volunteered in several
hospitals, including the emergency room at Western Medical Center
in Santa Ana, and has been an after-school tutor in Orange.
The award-winner conducted glycogen metabolism research
projects at Cal State Fullerton, and has co-authored national and
international research presentations. She will attend UC San Diego
Medical School this fall.
Meyer was last year’s winner of the Kenneth
L. Goodhue-McWilliams Health Professions Award for outstanding community
service and is the first to win both honors.
Newmarch, a native of South Africa
who grew up in Port Elizabeth and received her nurse’s training
at the University of Port Elizabeth, came to the United States in
1997 as a traveling nurse, eventually serving in the cardiac care
unit at UCLA Medical Center.
Learning about the Health Professions Advising Office
at Cal State Fullerton through the Internet, Newmarch enrolled at
CSUF in 2001 as a postbaccalaureate student to complete science
courses that would help her qualify for medical school. After years
of working as a caregiver in the nursing profession, Newmarch had
decided to become a doctor, in order to make medical decisions for
a patient’s care, which she could not do as a nurse.
As the current president of the Student Health Professions Association,
her duties include arranging for speakers, organizing blood drives,
promoting volunteer activities and staging forums for discussion
of medical ethics. She is an active member of the Flying Samaritans
and LIGA: Flying Doctors of Mercy.
Newmarch has participated in artificial heart transplant
research at UCLA and also volunteered as a tutor in an adult literacy
program. She has earned a 3.9 grade point average in her postbaccalaureate
science courses and has been accepted at Albany Medical College.
Newmarch plans to specialize in internal medicine.
The two honorees will receive their awards at the
university’s annual Honors Convocation May 28. They also received
special recognition at the May 14 awards dinner of the College of
Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Each will receive a $1,000 cash
Meyer, 33, and Newmarch, 30, are part of a growing
trend of individuals across the nation who have decided to change
careers in early or midlife to become doctors, dentists, veterinarians,
pharmacists or other health professionals.
They are among hundreds of students over the past
two decades who have benefited from Cal State Fullerton’s
Health Professions Advising Office, which provides a unique support
and mentoring program for students seeking entry to medical and
other health professions schools.
The program’s Health Professions Committee —
composed of university faculty members in the sciences, social sciences,
humanities and administration — provides mentoring, career
counseling, advising, letters of recommendation, and guidance on
volunteer activities and internships.
For the past 25 years, an average of 84 percent of
all students recommended by the committee have been admitted to
a medical or other health professions school for graduate training.
||Christopher Meyer, associate
professor of chemistry and biochemistry, at 657-278-4173 or
Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at 657-278-4855
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