Health Professions Advising Office (HPAO)

University of Mississippi

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The COVID-19 Cohort

Posted on: August 24th, 2020 by erabadie

Recent UM graduates enter medical school during a global pandemic

AUGUST 24, 2020

This summer, 104  members of the UM class of 2020 are entering medical school during a historic time, a global pandemic of COVID-19. Because of safety protocols, they’re missing out on milestone events, like the traditional white coat ceremony, when a white coat is placed on new medical students’ shoulders, and they recite the Hippocratic Oath, signifying their entrance into the medical profession. Yet, their education moves onward. Through all the intensity that the first weeks of medical school brings, these fledgling medical students are aware that they now have a front seat to the challenges and advances in health care that are front page news. Here are the journeys of three.

Connor Bluntson (BS Biological Science ’20)

UMMC School of Medicine

Connor Bluntson

Connor Bluntson

Connor Bluntson’s emergence into medical school has been a quick plunge.

“First two tests yesterday [August 19] and I pretty much collapsed into bed as soon as I got home!” he said.

“Starting medical school during a pandemic has been quite the unique experience. The format of many of our classes is changing or going virtual, it has made an already difficult year of transition even more challenging.”

His  first experience at University of Mississippi Medical Center came after his freshman year at UM, when he researched the effects of sleep deprivation on early life development, shadowing Dr. James Shaffery, Director of the Animal Behavior Core Facility in the Medical Center’s Division of Neurobiology and Behavioral Research, a part of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.

As a premedical student and major in the Department of Biology, he found guidance for his passage through academia w MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students).  Based out of the Health Professions Advising Office, MAPS is a nationally recognized organization open to all undergraduate minority students who are headed for a career as a health professional.

In the summer of his junior year, MAPS opened the door to a six-week long summer health professions preparation program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the medical school of Columbia University.

Perhaps most important of all, it was through MAPS that Bluntson met his mentor, Khalid Manzoul (BS 18), now a third-year medical student the University of Mississippi School of  Medicine. Two years ahead of Bluntson, the two first met at Ridgeland High School and were reunited through MAPS.

“It’s a different journey to be a premed as a minority person,” said Bluntson. “MAPS would bring in minority doctors to talk to us so we would have role models. MAPS students take other students of color under their wing and support them.”

Recalling UM’s introductory science courses, he said, “It really helps when you walk into a large lecture hall and see other minority students there. We would study together and support each other.”

Manzoul, was invaluable when Bluntson was studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) last summer.

“I dedicated a good month and a half to study,” he said. “Khalid passed down his MCAT prep books to me. I knew these books had worked for him, so they should work for me, too, in scoring high on a very difficult test.”

The magic worked. Bluntson’s first year at UMMC will a build a foundation that balances academics and clinical work.  His first-year courses include: Biochemistry, Histology and Cell Biology, Gross Anatomy, Physiology, Developmental Anatomy, and Neurobiology.

During his second semester, he will ease into patient care with Core Concepts, a course that  is a gradual introduction to the clinical aspect of medicine, and includes a basic life support class, guest lecturers, group projects, and the medical students’ first patient interaction.

“I feel fortunate to begin my medical journey now in a time where healthcare professionals have never been more crucial to the framework of our society,” he said. “It helps to put my studies in perspective knowing that I’ll soon be able to make a similar impact in my own community, and hopefully, help to prevent a similar disaster from occurring in the future.”


Joey Madison Davis

Joey Madison Davis

Joey Madison Davis (BA Biochemistry ’20)

UMMC School of Medicine

Joey Davis and Bluntson are in the same cohort. On her first day of orientation at the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Joey Davis (BS20) recalled the first phone call she made after she learned that she’d been accepted into medical school.

“I called Dr. Taylor and Ms. Kelli,” she said.  “Dr. Taylor put me on speakerphone so that I could tell them both at the same time.”

Sovent Taylor and Kelli Hutchens—respectively the director and assistant director of UM’s Health Professions Advising Office (HPOA)—had mentored Davis since her sophomore year at UM.

“I started out in the School of Pharmacy, but it wasn’t really the right match, so I went to speak to Ms. Kelli, and she helped me get an internship shadowing doctors in the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a physician.”

At St. Francis, Davis started out shadowing physicians the summer of her freshman year.

By April of her sophomore year, she was hired to a full-time position as a scribe for the ER doctors.

“A scribe takes notes for the doctors when they’re examining the ER patients,” Davis said.

While she worked at St. Francis, she also maintained a full course load at UM and—in her free time—worked in the UM Department of Chemistry as a group study leader.

Her most memorable moments at her scribe job were seeing how some patients put the doctors trying to help them “under scrutiny for their ethnicity, race, and gender.”

“I saw female doctors who didn’t get respect and African American doctors whose patients wouldn’t let the doctors touch them, but the doctors always handled the situation with complete professionalism,” Davis said. “I saw how they always maintained respect for the patients.”

Davis said that Taylor and Hutchens helped her articulate these experiences in essays she wrote for her medical school applications. They also supported her application process by helping her get a scholarship to pay for online tutoring for the notoriously difficult Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Taylor had created a scholarship program with funding from large test preparation companies, like Kaplan and Altius, in order to ensure that the steep price wasn’t an obstacle to students’ excelling on the test.

“It was about $3 thousand worth of materials, including the practice test books and online practice sets,” Davis said.  “I’m the first generation in my family to attend college, and that would have been unaffordable for me.”

During her junior year, she split her time between her job at St. Francis and a job at the HPAO on campus. By her senior year, she worked full-time at the HPAO office.

“I was always there anyway, so working there wasn’t much different,” she said.

She chose UMMC for its small size.  As she begins her education there during the pandemic, she feels that the unusual circumstances add “another layer of meaning. We’re going to be obtaining knowledge as we go, just like the rest of the medical world,” she said. “It’s clear that I’m passionate about being a physician.”


Mallory Loe (BS Chemistry ’20)

Mallory Loe

Mallory Loe

Mallory Loe found her inspiration to become a doctor under her own roof growing up.  Her little sister was born with a congenital heart defect just eight days after Hurricane Katrina and had to be airlifted from the family’s local hospital in West Monroe, Louisiana, to a hospital in New Orleans with the ability to perform cardiac surgery on newly-born babies.

Years later, that initial fascination with medicine led Mallory to the HST-Wellman Summer Institute for Biomedical Optics, a collaboration between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Each summer, the Institute chooses eight to twelve undergraduate students from across the country to pursue full-time laboratory research for 10 weeks.

The fellowship funded Mallory’s summer research at a lab in Massachusetts General Hospital, run by Professor Guillarmo (Gary) Tearney, the Remondi Family Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair, Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and an Affiliated Faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).  At the lab, Mallory was part of a research team that leads the medical field in using high-resolution optical imaging modalities to diagnose disease rather than taking tissue from the body for biopsies.  Doctors can get a good visual on a part of the body and do a diagnosis without an invasive procedure.

She found the fellowship with Tearney after meeting him in during her Junior Quest, a program originating in the Sally McConnell Barksdale Honors College. In December 2018 , several SMBHC juniors traveled to Boston to interview professionals in their fields of interest and to gather information for their honors theses. During the trip, Loe visited Tearney, whom she had researched and contacted for an appointment.  Atter they met, he suggested that she apply for the HST-Wellman Summer Institute.

“I love research and discussion about medical topics, and I was interested in doing research that could have a direct benefit to so many patients,” Loe said.  “It was an incredible opportunity.”

Loe will continue her journey at the Tulane University School of Medicine, which she entered this summer.


HPAO Announces 2019-2020 Awards

Posted on: May 9th, 2020 by yabarnes

Anna Holt Shaw

Outstanding Pre-Veterinary Student Award Recipient

I am a B.A. in Biology major with minors in Psychology and Chemistry. I’m from a small town in eastern Tennessee called Crossville! This past year I’ve been the Health Professions Advising Office Pre-Vet ambassador and have loved every second of it! I’m glad to have helped others in pursuing this career. I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was little, so it’s a dream come true to be able to attend The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine this upcoming fall. A fun fact is that I’ve drawn blood from an eagle and assisted in a necropsy on a tiger! I hope to practice as a small animal veterinarian and take care of everyone’s sweet fur babies! Hotty Toddy!!

Meagan Mandabach

HPAO Most Valuable Person Award Recipient

Meagan Mandabach is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and minors in chemistry and psychology. She is returning to her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama to start medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in July. Some of the things she’ll miss the most about Oxford are morning walks in Lamar Park, Christmas lights on the square, and the amazing people.

Andre’ Smith

Red & Blue Service Award

I am a graduating Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Society & Health from Tylertown, Mississippi.

Andrew Groneck

Medical Service Award Recipient

I am a graduating Biochemistry major from Chesterfield, Missouri. I will be attending the University of Missouri School of Medicine in the fall.

Luci Strong

Outstanding Pre-Nursing Student Award Recipient

I am a graduating Biology major  from Canton, MS. If I could have a superpower, it would be teleportation because then I could go to all the vacation places I wanted to travel to for free.

Melea Mansel

Outstanding Pre-Occupational Therapy Student Award Recipient

I studied Psychology and Spanish, from Saltillo, MS, and am attending The University of St. Augustine in Austin, TX for the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program! Classes start Monday May 11th!

Summer Jefferson

Community Difference Maker Award Recipient

I am a Biochemistry major with minors in Classics & Society and Health.My hometown is Cumming, GA. I am also a  Stamps Scholar, a Taylor Medalist, a member of the Honors College, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, and Who’s Who for 2020. Some of my most meaningful memories at Ole Miss have been engaging with the campus and local communities through Colleges Against Cancer, Rebels for International Health and Education, and Relay for Life. Academically, my professors have pushed and encouraged me to combine my interests and pursue research in food insecurity that I have been able to present at the Southern Rural Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting (2020) and submit for publication in a journal. As a result, this award specifically means so much to me because of my extracurricular and research interests. During my gap year, I’m so excited to be working at the CDC again while I apply to med schools!

Mary McCarthy

Outstanding Allied Health Student Award Recipient

I am nineteen years old and from Brandon, Mississippi. I am majoring in dental hygiene, and I will be attending UMMC in the fall of 2020. I don’t go anywhere without my best friend, my dog Buddy. I love the rebs! I am so honored to be receiving this award! This just made my week! Hotty Toddy!!

Claire Sanderson

Outstanding Pre-Physical Therapy Student Award Recipient

I am an Exercise Science major from Mobile, Alabama. During my time at Ole Miss I was involved in Delta Gamma and Cru while working for Campus Recreation and doing research in Exercise and Memory Lab. I will be begin UAB’s DPT program starting in January!

Joey Madison Davis

Servant’s Heart Award Recipient

I earned a degree in B.A. Biochemistry with a minor in Psychology. I am from Brookhaven, Mississippi. I went to Mississippi School of the Arts for high school where I studied classical music and dance, and was awarded with Valedictorian, Hall of Fame and the Lindy Callahan Scholar Athlete Award. I am a first generation student, and will be the first doctor in my family as I am to attend the University of Mississippi School of Medicine next fall. At the University of Mississippi, I was selected for Who’s Who, initiated into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Through the HPAO, I was a student worker, the president of the HPAO Ambassadors and the PR Chair of the Pre-Med Mentorship Program. I volunteered in the Oxford community through the Leap Frog Enrichment Program, and at both the Baptist Memorial Hospital and MS State Veterans Home.

HPAO Fall 2020 Tutoring Schedule

Posted on: February 11th, 2019 by yabarnes

Download (XLSX, Unknown)

The Health Professions Advising Office is continuing its tutoring program.

The program offers one-on-one tutoring to our health professions students.

We are offering tutoring for the following classes:

General Chemistry I & II (Chem 105 & 106)
Organic Chemistry I & II (Chem 221 & 222)
Biochemistry (Chem 373 & 471)
Biology (Bisc 160)
Anatomy & Physiology I (Bisc 206)
General Physics I & II (Phys 213 & 214)
Any Math Course

Click here to view the Spring 2020 Tutoring Schedule!

Atlantis Clinical Shadowing Study Abroad Program

Posted on: December 17th, 2018 by yabarnes

Engage in Clinical Shadowing in ManresaSpain on this faculty-led program in Health Professions. During this three-week opportunity, students will spend a minimum of 20 hrs/week in the hospital environment, shadowing doctors in pairs. They will shadow four days per week, generally, between 9 am – 2 pm, although the hours will change depending on the day and hospital activity. One weekday per week is reserved for an Atlantis-organized group excursion of cultural, regional, or historical interest. Students will shadow in a variety of medical fields inside the hospital – some surgical but more often non-surgical.

Click here for more details and here to begin your Study Abroad application.

Four UM Students Accepted into Rural Physician Scholarship Program

Posted on: August 7th, 2018 by yabarnes

University of Mississippi students Steven Smith, Katelynn McGowen, Conner Ball and Megan Buchanan have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. Click Here for Full Story!

Ole Miss Pre-Med Student Launches Medical American Sign Language Website

Posted on: September 6th, 2017 by yabarnes


Ashley Barker is currently a premedical senior at the University of Mississippi obtaining a B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry, Psychology, and Neuroscience. Most importantly she is hard of hearing. Being involved in the medical field as a hard of hearing premed allowed her to realize the separation of the hearing world and the deaf/hoh world, especially in medicine. She created this website for anyone that has a lack of knowledge of deaf/hoh community and to help individuals learn ASL; in hopes to better themselves as healthcare professionals. She truly believes EVERYONE should learn basic ASL. It is a necessity to combine our worlds.

Happy signing!

Disclaimer from Owner: P.S. All videos are captioned. I personally captioned all videos myself through Youtube.

Click here to launch site!

UMMC Announces New Histotechnology Program

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by yabarnes

View Webpage!

UMMC Announces Office of Health Careers Opportunity

Posted on: March 7th, 2017 by yabarnes

View webpage!

Graduate and Health Professions Fair Registration

Posted on: March 1st, 2016 by yabarnes

Register here!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Speak to students about health professional programs.

Registration is $175.

2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.



Go to and select the Employers’ tab.

The EmployUM Login is located in the left hand column.

Click on the “register” link located below the login windows to create your account.


 For BOTH New and Returning Recruiters:

In EmployUM, click on “Career Fairs and Events.”

Choose which event you wish to attend and proceed to register.

If attending multiple events, you have to register for each event.

UM Expands Physical Therapy Services

Posted on: April 15th, 2015 by yabarnes

Two therapists available to help faculty, staff and students. Continue reading.