Vandy Med School admissions among Class of 2017's many accomplishments

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Macy Cottrell graduated in May and is now studying theology at Oxford before heading to medical school

Class of 2017 members carry out personal and spiritual goals through graduate work at prestigious institutions

Commencement truly is a new beginning.

Each May at Lipscomb comes with fresh stories of new life journeys begun, new careers started and new accomplishments made for the hundreds of students graduating.

Members of the Class of 2017 embarked on prestigious new beginnings, with a number of students taking on impressive new challenges at some of the nation’s top institutions including studying and researching at Oxford University, Yale University, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University and in foreign lands to pursue their individual missions to better serve the world before them.

Macy Cottrell, of Nashville, is attending a one-year master’s program at Oxford University in England as a first step before attending medical school and pursuing a career in medicine incorporating medical missions.

Her Lipscomb college career was designed to prepare her for medical missions as she double majored in biology and theology and at the same time completed a master’s in biomolecular science in May through Lipscomb’s 3+1 program. The program required her to conduct immunology research with Jon Lowrance, professor of biology.

Cottrell has already experienced plenty of travel for educational and health missions purposes. She studied at Oxford for a summer, studied abroad in the Lipscomb in Vienna program, has been to Israel and Greece with the College of Bible and led a medical mission team to Guatemala.

On the theology side, Cottrell has interned in youth ministry at a church in Memphis, started a Room In the Inn homeless shelter on the Lipscomb campus and worked with a group of students to establish a for-profit social enterprise benefitting women’s education.

Two 2017 graduates are now studying to become physicians at Vanderbilt University, an unusual occurrence as Vanderbilt prefers a geographically diverse medical school class, according to Lipscomb’s Chair of Biology Kent Gallaher. This fall Mark Naguib and Chandler Montgomery are both first-year students at Vanderbilt Medical School, which only considers applicants that have MCAT scores in the 97th percentile or above, Gallaher said.

In fact, Naguib, a Nashville resident who earned a B.S. in molecular biology, received a full-tuition scholarship as his MCAT score ranked within the top 1 percent of the nation. He has been interested in combining service and science through medicine since his teen years.

During his time at Lipscomb, Naguib has done research with Nate Daniels, assistant professor of pharmacy, for three years, working to develop new medicine for Parkinson’s disease and treatments for obesity. He also participated in a Lipscomb-sponsored medical mission trip to Nicaragua and has been exploring his own spiritual life in a monastery in Texas.

Montgomery, also a Nashville resident with a B.S. in molecular biology, participated in Lipscomb’s medical mission trip to Guatemala every spring during his undergraduate years. He also worked on lung cancer detection research for two summers at Vanderbilt with Dr. Eric Grogan (’95), a lung surgeon. These experiences spurred an interest in pursuing medical missions and academic medicine during his career. He was also actively involved in Lipscomb’s music ensembles, social clubs and in community service.

Montgomery was drawn to Vanderbilt because its curriculum allows for clinical experience earlier in the academic process and requires students to spend three months conducting research.

Megan Alder, who graduated from Lipscomb Academy and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May, is now working on her Ph.D. in nursing neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University with mentor Michael Decker. Her research is supported by the Legacy Research Fellowship Award, a National Research Service Awards Pre-doctoral Training Grant from the National Institute of Health, which provides a full-tuition stipend, a living stipend, travel stipend and an additional educational stipend to study neuroscience. 

Her research in Ohio is in the hyperbaric chambers at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and involving U2 pilots as research participants. She will study the neurologic abnormalities (i.e. decompression sickness) leading to white brain matter hyper-intensities.

While at Lipscomb, Alder was already working at Vanderbilt with Dr. Beth Malow as a clinical researcher in the autism field.

Finally, the U.S. State Department is supporting the service mission of Courtney Stewart, a double major in Spanish and theology from Houston, who is beginning her appointment as a Fulbright Scholar this fall in the La Rioja region of Spain.

Stewart is well traveled in Latin America, as she has studied abroad in Lipscomb’s program in Santiago, Chile, and has served on three Lipscomb mission teams to Guatemala.

During her college career, she also developed an interest in liberation theology, a concept among Latin American Catholics that emphasizes liberation from social, economic and political oppression. The Fulbright grant includes support of her research into the role that liberation theology plays in Spain.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Stewart is Lipscomb’s sixth Fulbright Scholar in the last 11 years.

Other members of the Class of 2017 making notable shifts to prestigious graduate schools include:

  • The class also included two engineering graduates, Michael Brandon Smith and Nathanial Hamilton, and two psychology master’s graduates, Natalie Shrull and R. Mansfield, were accepted into Vanderbilt to study electrical and computer engineering, clinical psychological assessment and nursing practice, respectively;
  • Kayla Ford, an English graduate, is now studying at Yale Divinity School; and
  • Ethan Bennett was accepted into the master’s program in choral conducting at the University of Mississippi, a very exclusive and highly respected program in the field.