A bridge to med school: Success through Jacksonville University's Master of Science in Medical Science program

May 15, 2024

When Bobak Tarassoli ‘22 began pursuing his dream of becoming a surgeon, his advisors encouraged him to continue his studies before applying to medical schools. After researching his options, he chose Jacksonville University’s Master of Science in Medical Science (MSMS) program.

Jacksonville University’s MSMS program provides qualified graduates a path to medical, pharmaceutical and dental school. Students can choose one of two program delivery methods, both of which offer the same courses and degree. The full-time, in-person track is a one-year program that mirrors the first year of LCME-accredited medical school curriculum. The part-time, online track features the same courses and can be completed in 20 months.

Thanks to his success in the MSMS program, Tarassoli is already one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a cardiothoracic or orthopedic surgeon. 

As he wraps his first year at Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, Tarassoli shared some insight on his personal experience with JU’s MSMS program and explained why he would not be where he is today without the faculty’s constant support.

What factors did you consider when choosing the MSMS program?

One of the most important factors that led me to choose Jacksonville University's Master of Science in Medical Sciences over other programs was that I was looking for a program that offered a more personalized experience.

Some programs are huge and have many students in the class, so you don’t get the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff. My goal and my mission were in tune with what the program had in mind in terms of preparing students to pursue higher education in the health sciences field.

Before enrolling in the program, I had the chance to talk in-depth with one of the advisors, John Chambers. He walked me through the exact process of the program. If John hadn't spent 90 minutes on the phone answering every question that I had, I would not have had the confidence to join the program. By the time I arrived in Jacksonville and started the program, my transition period wasn't difficult. Everything went very smoothly. There was always help available.

Talk a bit about the support MSMS faculty offer to students like you.

Jacksonville University’s MSMS program was more than supportive. I enjoyed interacting with faculty members and the people running the program, including the Program Director, Dr. Wayne Mier. He was always available for mentorship.

I remember during the program's orientation, which was the first time that I was able to meet Dr. Mier, I was able to speak with him about my aspirations and what I wanted to get out of the program. He was kind enough to offer advice on what to expect. Right off the bat, I felt like I had entered a program where I would be more than just a number. I felt like I belonged there. It felt supportive and gave me the confidence that I would not be alone in this journey.

During the most rigorous moments of the program and AMCAS [American Medical College Application Service) application process, I remember being able to step out of the classroom, walk across the hall to Dr. Mier’s office, knock on his door, and speak to him. He was always welcoming and willing to give the advice that I needed to succeed.

How did the MSMS program prepare you for medical school?

It prepared me in two aspects. First, it gave me a solid background in my academic skills. It provided me the opportunity to have a solid foundation and hone my skills to be able to survive in a very competitive academic environment. Secondly, it gave me the confidence I needed to begin my journey and assured me that I could be a successful medical student. Thus far, that has been the case during my first year of medical school. This program more than prepared me for my journey as a medical student.

As a current medical student, I cannot stress enough how important it is for a student to have confidence to begin this difficult journey. You won't gain that confidence until you've been through a similar experience. This program, in particular, is fine-tuned to resemble what you go through as a first-year medical student. If you go through this program, you can be assured you have the academic skills and competency for medical school.

What is one thing you'd like future MSMS students to know?

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education in the health sciences field, and you’re looking for a program that would prepare you and give you the skills you need to succeed in those programs, Jacksonville University’s Master of Science in Medical Sciences program is the perfect program for helping you accomplish that goal.

If you are willing to do the work and put in the effort and time, the school will provide you with every opportunity that you need to succeed. I am honored to say I am one of the individuals able to accomplish that dream.

What do you see yourself doing in ten years?

I see myself working as a board-certified surgeon, and I hope that my specialty is cardiothoracic surgery. I'm confident that I have what it takes to accomplish that dream.



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