valerie pendleton

Valerie Pendleton ’18

Medical Biology (Medical Sciences) Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)


I knew I wanted to go to med school, so that was part of the reason why I [came] to UNE [for undergrad]. I wanted to have better resources to get to that point.

I picked the medical biology major because of the way it was set up. It includes all of the premed classes that you need to apply to any medical school, but it also has other topics in it that are super relevant. My favorite class was Anatomy and Physiology, and that has pretty much been my entire first-year of medical school. It was really nice to go from taking that Anatomy class and getting excited about it then to go on to finishing my first year of medical school. I really enjoyed how well prepared I was.

Hands-on Learning

One of the most influential parts of my education was on the rural health immersion trip that I did with the Care for the Underserved Pathways (CUP) Scholars Program. Having the hands-on experience of working with all of these different people from different professions was very interprofessional, and that's not something I realized was an opportunity until I got to my first week of COM.

Then I got an email saying that UNE was bringing a few students from CUP to Greece, so I signed up to go. That was one of the best hands-on experiences I've had. We brought aid over and worked with the refugee, homeless, and asylum-seeking population there who otherwise had no aid. They had nothing. We distributed diapers, and we did a lot of food distribution.

It’s something that I don't think I would've gotten elsewhere. I'm not sure of what other medical schools have as far as programs like this. While in Greece, I got to do a medical component where we set up a health hygiene clinic. We were able to teach pertinent skills like handwashing, female hygiene, and oral hygiene. It was a super interesting hands-on experience, and it was also very interprofessional. I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to go.

Welcoming Community

[The UNE community is] really inclusive. We have an awesome program where we're not ranked, so we're not competitive. We’re all trying to make sure that we are all succeeding. Your neighbors, your classmates, whoever you’re next to — their wellness and their overall mental health is always getting checked on. We make sure we are all supported.

I remember during the first week at orientation, all the orientation leaders who were part of the second-year class were like, “You’re going to be family.” It’s true. If someone's struggling, someone else in our program is reaching out to them. The faculty members keep up with us too. We have a lot of phenomenal faculty members who are huge advocates for us as students and who want to check in on us.