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Biomedical Studies Meet Brian Leonard

Brian Leonard, Drexel Biomedical Studies Program Alum


Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Undergraduate: Boston University, BS in Biology
Graduate: Drexel University College of Medicine, MS in Biomedical Studies
Medical School: Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Class of 2022


Can you tell me about yourself before you came to Drexel?

I graduated from Boston University in 2014, and then I moved back to Philadelphia, where I'm originally from. I taught at Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter High School for two years, but I knew I wanted to go to medical school, so I decided to apply to Drexel.

Did you always want to be a doctor?

It was sort of always in the back of my mind. I didn't know that I could do it because I had a rough time at the beginning of college and that affected my grades. I didn't think I would be able to get into medical school. Then I learned about the various programs, like the ones at Drexel, and I realized that I could have a second chance.

Why did you apply to Drexel's Biomedical Studies (MBS) program?

The fact that it is in Philadelphia was a big part of it, but I also liked the idea of Drexel. Boston University is huge and Drexel's undergraduate college is huge, but the College of Medicine's graduate school is pretty small, which I liked when I toured the school. It almost seemed more like a high school, where you had a homeroom and there were smaller classes where you knew everyone. It also didn't seem as competitive as it would be with a thousand pre-meds who are all just going crazy for grades.

What was your relationship with your classmates like?

I tend to be pretty shy, so it started out slow, but I did really get to know my classmates. There's a group of about ten of us that became really close, and we would study together. They're some of my best friends now. We still have group chats and keep in touch, and I still study with one of them regularly, even though we're at different schools now.

What was your relationship with the faculty like?

It was great, especially compared to my undergraduate experience. Having been at a large university, I didn't really have personal relationships with my professors. Here, it's very different. During my first year in the program, Dr. Jost, Dr. Bagga and Dr. Carchidi were all great. Then the second year is with all Drexel medical school professors, and they were great too. The professors were really good at teaching and getting things to stick, which has been great because it has made my first year of medical school a little easier. They were also the kind of people who were always willing to help you.

Were you involved with any extracurricular activities or volunteering while you were here?

During my first year in the program, I volunteered at a high school in West Philly. We helped teach kids who were studying for a certified nursing assistant exam, teaching them anatomy and basic concepts of biology.

Do you feel the program helped you with getting into medical school?

Yes, it helped a lot. I don't think I would be in medical school if it weren't for the MBS program. It not only helped me with my GPA, but I significantly increased my MCAT score too. Additionally, the faculty helped me with figuring out where to apply, gave me advice on my essay and prepared me for interviews. I applied to medical school once before I did the MBS program, and I didn't even get an interview. Clearly, there was a huge difference in my experience this time, thanks to this program.

Would you recommend the MBS program to other students?

Yes, definitely. I have already recommended it to people.

What sort of advice would you give to the students who are considering coming for them to be successful in the program?

You have to put a lot of work into this program. It's not like just getting in, signing up and paying tuition will get you into medical school. You still have to make up for what you didn't do in college, so you have to put in double effort.

Biomedical Studies program graduate students in the classroom at Drexel University College of Medicine.

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