Hi, my name is Sammy Bowen, and I graduated from Bel Air High School and the Biomedical Sciences Program in 2016. I am currently a pre-physical therapy student at the University of Maryland (UMD) studying kinesiology in the School of Public Health.

Over the past few years, I have been astounded at the degree to which the foundation I gained through the Biomed Program is not only present in, but integral to, my academic and professional undertakings. Two classes in particular, Human Body Systems (HBS) and Biomedical Innovations (BI), have proven to be particularly influential.

Sammy with her HBS Manikin

During my first foundational kinesiology class at UMD, I was pleasantly surprised at how well HBS, a course I had taken as just a sophomore in high school, had prepared me for the content I was then learning as a college student. While many of my new classmates became quickly overwhelmed with anatomical terminology, I was suddenly grateful for a summer assignment I had completed years earlier with the goal of learning and retaining this universally used vocabulary. This type of experience has occurred time and again in several of my courses at UMD and has not only brought a sense of reassurance, but has also allowed me to quickly build trusting academic relationships and, often, friendships with peers who may struggle initially with concepts presented in class.

Perhaps even more helpful than the academic confidence provided by HBS is the professional knowledge I developed during my final year at Bel Air in the Biomedical Innovations (BI) course. Encapsulated by the curriculum of this class is the opportunity for and encouragement of growth in four crucial areas: experience in a biomedical field of choice, professional correspondence, presentation capabilities, peer collaboration. My time spent cultivating each of these has proven invaluable as I pursue my interests and work toward my goal of attending physical therapy school following graduation from UMD.

With necessary guidance provided by my Biomed teachers, I was able to effectively communicate with an incredibly knowledgeable physical therapist and shadow him throughout his workday. This experience only confirmed my interest in the field, and, as a result of having already been through the process, finding an internship at a physical therapy clinic in College Park was smooth and painless.

Sammy was the Biomed Award Winner for the Class of 2016

In addition to opportunities related to my intended career, BI also provided me with a level of comfort collaborating with and speaking in front of peers that has allowed me to become the president of UMD’s Kinesiology Student Organization, which aims to bolster students’ undergraduate experiences as members of the Kinesiology Department. In particular, our annual trip to a conference hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine provides me and our members in attendance with the opportunity to learn about the fascinating and diverse research emerging in the field through presentations by and discussions with prominent kinesiologists.

As I move forward, I am confident that the perspective I acquired through the Biomed Program will continue to be a powerful asset. The preparation provided by Biomed’s coursework, guidance, and inherent encouragement of independence and curiosity occurs at an educationally formative time, resulting in self-assured and eager learners and thinkers. I am incredibly fortunate to be one of them.