Welcome class of 2026! The First Year Experience (FYE) Committee is here to give you an inside look at starting medical school. Learn about the members, and jot down some advice. You have a lot to look forward to as a new member of the IU School of Medicine community.
Hometown: Miami, FL Undergraduate Institution: University of Florida Campus: West Lafayette Instagram Handle: @alexamederos Fun Fact: I was featured on ESPN with my team twice for winning the National Dance Team Championship two years in a row in high school!
Why I joined the FYE Committee: I wanted to be a member of the FYE Committee because as an out-of-state student, they made me feel welcomed and the transition much easier. Moving to a new state by myself and beginning the challenging journey of medical school was intimidating, to say the least; I owe it to the FYE Committee for making my experience enjoyable and as smooth as possible. I am excited I have been given the opportunity to share my experience with incoming students and play a role in ensuring they all feel as welcomed as I did! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: By far, the most significant factor that has enhanced my medical school experience thus far is my 23 other classmates. I think IUSM is notable for their organization of satellite campuses, such that, I have been able to collaborate and form lasting relationships with my fellow classmates. The smaller-sized campus has the individualization factor that has truly played a key role in my success. I could not be more fortunate than to have 23 friends to rely on and extraordinary faculty to guide me throughout my medical school journey.
Hometown: Fishers, IN Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Campus: South Bend Instagram Handle: @maddiegaines01 Fun Fact: I am very invested in astrology, to the point where I know the sun sign of everyone in my class. Why I joined the FYE Committee: Going into med school, I was constantly being told how difficult it would be to adjust- drinking out of a “fire hydrant” of information, battling imposter syndrome, etc. It wasn’t until orientation when the second years took me under their wing and not only showed me that it was possible to survive in med school, but gave me the tools and resources I needed to do so. I can’t wait to pay this kindness forward by being a resource and a friend to the incoming class! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love how easy it is to get involved. There are so many Student Interest Groups (SIGs) and committees to choose from, with opportunities for leadership positions or just exploring your interests. There are always seminars and panels being hosted by SIGs on Zoom, so it’s a great opportunity to learn new things outside of the classroom.
Hometown: Shoals, IN Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University Campus: Terre Haute Fun Fact: I got tear-gassed in Paris Why I joined the FYE Committee: I am the first person in my family to even consider medical school, let alone attend. This means that I have gone throughout this entire process without a clue as to what I was getting myself into and what the road ahead looked like. The main resource that helped guide me along was my peer group. I truly believe the biggest help in adjusting to medical school are the students before you and your own classmates. I want to help others who are as lost I was and do my best to help guide them through the mysteries of medical school. One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love that at least at my specific campus, the staff/faculty are so passionate about us students. I have found that they care about us first and foremost as humans living complex lives. It helps us stay in touch with why we are in medicine and who we are as people. It is great for mental health and makes medical school so much better.
Hometown: Carmel, IN Undergraduate Institution: Northwestern University (go cats) Campus: Muncie Instagram Handle: @averydawes13 Fun Fact: I’m obsessed with true crime! Podcasts, books, movies, shows. You name it I’ve probably watched at least a “48 Hours” episode on it. Why I joined the FYE Committee: Medical school is such a crazy process. From the application process, to figuring out how to study, so much of it felt complicated and I didn’t know how to figure it all out. Reaching out to current med students made everything feel manageable. I want to fill that role for the Class of 2026, especially those who might not know any current students. Even if you’re not going to be at Muncie Campus, I’m happy to talk about anything!
One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: My classmates! I love how we support each other and always root for each other’s success. Even in the statewide group chat, people are always making me laugh after a hard test or with memes about what we’re doing in class. Doing med school with these people is the best!
Hometown: Floyds Knobs, IN Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University Campus: Indianapolis Instagram Handle: @carli_king Fun Fact: I have two cats named Mack Truck and Beep Beep Why I joined the FYE Committee: During my orientation, the orientation leaders on the FYE committee helped make this scary transition a lot less intimidating and made me feel a whole lot more welcome. I want to provide the same sense of welcome and encouragement to my future peers! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love the team spirit of IUSM! It never feels like we are competing against each other. My peers and IUSM faculty work together to help each other so we can all achieve academic AND personal success.
Hometown: Muncie, Indiana Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University Campus: Indianapolis Instagram Handle: @brice_wuthrich Fun Fact: I once hit 5 straight balls out of bounds in a golf tournament. My Dad had to go collect them all for me because it would have taken too much time to go find them all. Why I joined the FYE Committee: The first few weeks of medical school are such an important time! I had great leaders last year during my own orientation and I had a lot of questions that were answered by those leaders. I joined the FYE committee to help students that were like me, that come in with anxious questions that need answered! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: The best part about IUSM is the people. There is no shortage of ways to get involved here, and that provides a great avenue to meet people and form relationships. Having a good group of friends has made my whole experience at IU better as we continue to support each other and check-in on each other.
Hometown: Evansville, IN Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University Campus: Indianapolis Instagram Handle: @megtharp Fun Fact: I’ve been bitten – not stung – by a stingray Why I joined the FYE Committee: I absolutely loved my involvement with Purdue’s orientation program known as Boiler Gold Rush and the amazing, lasting relationships it brought. Being involved in the behind-the-scenes of the schools I attend helps me feel more connected to my academic work, so I knew from the beginning that FYE Committee would combine my desire to be involved with the appreciation I have for student orientation programs. I’m so glad to be here! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love how willing older students are to give advice! I feel like I’m always reaching out to someone above me for tips on how to approach a class or ways to get involved. Everyone is so accommodating and genuinely want to help out. This helps me feel more connected to the school and other medical students at all levels.
Hometown: Schererville, IN Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University Campus: Indianapolis Instagram Handle: @sarah_spivak Fun Fact: I thought I was really good at basketball in middle school but then I only scored 6 points for the entire season Why I joined the FYE Committee: Having been involved in numerous orientation leadership positions throughout my life, I knew FYE would be a good fit for me. I love the energy and excitement that new students bring. I want to be there as a resource for the incoming class to help relieve any anxieties or answer any questions. The transition into medical school is a big one and I want to help in any way that I can to make it as smooth as possible for the incoming class. One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love the advising team at IUSM. I feel like they have always been just a message away to help me with any dilemma that I faced. Sometimes medical school can feel overwhelming, and it is good to know that you have someone who is excited to help you through the classes and preparing your residency application.
Hometown: Carmel, IN Undergraduate Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham Campus: Indianapolis Instagram Handle: @kristtinee_ Fun Fact: I want to be a doctor Why I joined the FYE Committee: Beginning medical school can feel very nerve-wracking and daunting, but orientation provided me the opportunity to meet students who had already been through this transition. Hearing their authentic perspectives and advice gave me peace of mind and helped me feel prepared to take this next step. This is something I hope to give back to the incoming class. Additionally, in my undergraduate years, I was similarly involved in our orientation programs, and I loved being around new students and the ability to be a familiar face on campus. One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: IUSM has done an amazing job of being aware of the mental health of its students by fostering a welcoming and open community among students and professors. With the professors cognizant of this, they are extremely understanding of the position and transition you are going through in the beginning. They provide their students with all the academic and professional support one could ask for. Additionally, all the students I have met have been super open to helping one another out.
Hometown: Shelbyville, IN Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University Campus: Bloomington Instagram Handle: @jayden_dover Fun Fact: A couple summers ago I rode my bike from Bloomington to Chicago, to four of the five great lakes, and back to Bloomington for a total of three weeks. Why I joined the FYE Committee: I came into medical school with a ton of questions (and worries) about what this transition to a new phase of life was going to be like. The orientation leaders that I had during my orientation did such a good job at answering all the questions everyone had and easing any worries we all collectively shared. I wanted to give back to my future peers in a similar way. Also, I had such a fun time at orientation last year and am super excited to be able to lead it at my home campus! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love the people that I am surrounded by in Bloomington, whether it be classmates, professors, or staff. My classmates are always supportive and every single one of us wants each other to succeed. The professors are all amazing, and want every student to accomplish their goals, and will do anything to make sure that we all do. Every staff member does their best to make sure all students feel welcomed and wanted!
Hometown: Maryland Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland, College Park Campus: Indianapolis Instagram Handle: @drew_king01 Fun Fact: I don’t know how to ride a bike! Why I joined the FYE Committee: I am passionate about student advocacy and leadership. My participation in FYE committee is an extension of my passion: to empower students in their transition through all aspects of medical school education like the way I was helped along the way through my transition into medical school. More importantly, as an out-of-state student, I recognize the value of honest perspectives and guidance, especially from a medical student who has already been through the process, in making transitioning for new medical students as seamless as possible. I want to provide that kind of resource for the next class of IU School of Medicine future-physicians. One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: The many opportunities available to students to get involved and find their niche and IUSM’s excellent structure of support system ranging from classmates to lead advisors, peer mentors, physician mentors, mental health support staffs, class reps, and tutors. If you are taking the initiative, you will find plenty of support through your medical school journey.
Hometown: Vincennes, IN Undergraduate Institution: Vincennes University, Indiana University Campus: Evansville Instagram Handle: @evelyn_m_crowley11 Fun Fact: I very spontaneously adopted a cat during our second semester. I am much more of a dog person but bringing Mako home was the best decision I could have made. I highly recommend having a furry friend to keep you company during those long days. (: Why I joined the FYE Committee: Throughout my undergraduate career, I assisted with both Admissions and Orientation. I became passionate about preparing students for the next chapter in their education while working to improve the experience for future classes. I am thrilled to be able to continue that in medical school! One thing I love about IU School of Medicine: I love the small class sizes at the regional campuses. Attending both a community college and Big Ten school during my undergraduate career, I learned how valuable small class sizes are. They provide more opportunities for one-on-one time with professors and help to form stronger relationships with colleagues. Additionally, the faculty members at the Evansville campus strive to provide a comfortable and supportive learning environment for us students. They have done everything from sending us weather alerts to sharing information about a special event happening in town. Very rarely are we short on snacks and drinks in our student lounge, especially during an exam heavy week. Medical school has its challenges but studying in such a supportive environment helps tremendously.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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