URI students offered early acceptance to Brown University medical school

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KINGSTON, R.I. – June 5, 2015 – Two University of Rhode Island sophomores aspiring to be doctors just received some good news from one of the top medical schools in the country.

Ethan Snow and Haran Mennillo, both 2013 graduates of Barrington High School, gained early contingent admission to the Warren Alpert Medical School through the URI-Brown University Early Identification Program, which targets sophomores from Rhode Island.

Both students, who will be juniors in the fall, are Honors Program students majoring in a science – the usual path taken by pre-med students – combined with a second degree. Mennillo is majoring in biological sciences and philosophy, and Snow is majoring in biological sciences and psychology.

Snow says he’s known since he was a teenager that he wanted to be a doctor. He has a knack for science and math, but is also committed to community service, which he believes is the core of medical care.

Through his church, he’s volunteered for the last two years in Haiti, first building houses and installing irrigation systems, then, in the second year, working with a medical team in the country, one of the poorest in the world.

“That was a life-changing experience for me,” he says. “My passion for global health really got a start there. That’s why Brown will help so much. It offers clinical rotations in different countries.”

With his background in psychology, he’d like to become a neurologist or pediatrician. He performed medical research and shadowed a doctor at Hasbro Children’s Hospital for his high school senior project.

“Being a doctor is really all about service,” he says. “I want to give back. To be entrusted with someone’s well being and physical health is the purest form of service.”

This summer, he’s working at a clam shack in East Providence and as an outreach assistant for URI’s Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, helping people in need apply for food stamps. In the fall, he’ll head to the University of Reading in England through a URI study abroad program to tackle biology for a semester – and travel throughout Europe.

“I can’t wait,” he says. “It’s my first trip there.”

Mennillo says medicine incorporates all his passions – teaching, research, community work and technology. “Medicine takes the best aspects of all these careers,” he says, “and creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts.”

His “aha” moment came the summer before his junior year in high school when he volunteered at a medical clinic in a village in Honduras. The poverty stunned him. He realized that people all over the world need proper medical care to lead happy and healthy lives.

One 10-year-old boy was particularly moving. He was short, his growth stunted by malnutrition. That discovery led Mennillo to improve a program to put nutrients in the youngsters’ diet. He wrote a paper about the project in high school, which was published in the “Rhode Island Medical Journal” when he was a URI freshman – an extraordinary achievement.

His reaction to getting accepted at Brown? “Joy” because it’s the medical school he wanted to go to, and “relief” because he’s free now to explore courses outside the traditional pre-med sciences. He says philosophy ties in beautifully with medicine. “Doctors have to make tough decisions all the time,” he says. “A good background in ethics helps physicians weigh their options and find the best one for all parties involved.”

He’d like to focus on pediatrics, but isn’t sure in what area. This summer, he’s doing neuroscience research at Duke University. His parents are both doctors, and as a child he saw firsthand the demands of the profession.

“My parents are on call a lot,” he says. “It’s a tough job. In spite of that, I know it’s what I want to do with my life.”

Other URI students have also benefited from the URI-Brown Early Identification Program.

Catherine Garcia, of Providence, was offered early contingent admission as a sophomore in 2014 and will be a senior at URI in the fall. Born in the Dominican Republic, Garcia came to the United States as a 2-year-old with her parents and sibling. In elementary school, she was in the College Crusade program, which helps needy students prepare for higher education, and attended a charter school in Providence.

She completed her senior year of high school at the Community College of Rhode Island through a program called Running Start. There, she completed 31 credits in two semesters with a grade-point-average of 3.9.

At URI, she is an Honors Program student pursuing three degrees: biological sciences; cell and molecular biology; and psychology. She was an undergraduate researcher her freshman year and volunteers at Rhode Island Hospital. She’d like to become a heart surgeon. “One of my cousins was born with a heart defect,” she says. “And a surgeon fixed it, so that has inspired me.”

Shayla Minteer, of Richmond, was offered early acceptance in 2013 and graduated this spring from URI. Minteer is one of only 24 students nationwide accepted in the inaugural class of Alpert Medical School’s new Primary Care-Population Medicine dual degree program, which offers a master of science in population medicine along with the medical degree.

To receive URI’s nomination to the early identification program, Snow, Mennillo, Garcia and Minteer – as well as other students – submitted applications and were interviewed by the University’s health professions advisory committee. The four were nominated by URI and then interviewed by members of the medical school admissions committee at Brown. The students are required to complete their four-year degree at URI before continuing on to medical school.

“We’re very proud of these students and their contributions to URI,” says Kathleen D. Maher, who directs URI’s pre-health professions advising program and is also assistant director of the URI Honors Program. “They’re passionate about their studies, committed to being excellent doctors and true global thinkers. We applaud them for their hard work, dedication and compassion.”

Pictured above:

Ethan Snow, of Barrington, a University of Rhode Island sophomore who recently received early contingent admission to the Warren Alpert Medical School through the URI-Brown University Early Identification Program. Photo courtesy of Ethan Snow.

Haran Mennillo, of Barrington, who recently received early contingent admission to the Warren Alpert Medical School through the URI-Brown University Early Identification Program.

Photo courtesy of Haran Mennillo.

Catherine Garcia, of Providence. Garcia received early contingent admission to the Warren Alpert Medical School in 2014 through the URI-Brown University Early Identification Program. She will be a senior at URI in the fall.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Garcia.