For many future doctors, the dream of wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope hanging around their neck begins when they are young children. For Rutgers–Camden alumnus Timothy Ripley, Jr., who will begin at Rowan University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall, the path to this dream started because of Dr. Martin Marino, a “fascinating and inspiring professor” who taught psychology at Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC). Tim initially enrolled at ACCC to earn his associate’s degree so that he’d be eligible for the New Jersey State Police training academy, but changed his plans once he realized how deeply interested he was in psychology and biology.
Upon graduating from ACCC, Tim began searching for a four-year institution to earn his bachelor’s degree. Mr. Cal Maradonna, who is currently a manager of academic programs for the School of Business–Camden but previously served as an off-campus programs manager, was conducting an Instant Decision Day on the ACCC campus. Rutgers–Camden’s strong academic reputation and its proximity to his home made it a clear choice for continuing his studies. “It was the best local school for launching me into a medical career,” Tim says.
Once at Rutgers–Camden, Tim dedicated himself to his studies, excelling in courses like Organic Chemistry and the Psychology of Happiness. Tim’s class schedule was not easy, and that’s what motivated him. “You won’t grow as a student if you aren’t pushed to your limits. How demanding [the courses were] is what I loved about them. They were great prep for med school.” Tim says, “The entire chemistry department was amazing,” and in particular cites Dr. Georgia Arbuckle-Keil, Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Luke Burke, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry; and Ms. Mary Craig, Assistant Teaching Professor of Chemistry, as excellent professors. Psychology of Happiness, taught by Ms. Debra Park, Lecturer of Psychology, also stands out as a favorite of Tim’s. “I can actually say that class changed my daily thinking and how I deal with stress, [which is] for the better.”
In his time at Rutgers–Camden, Tim racked up an impressive list of honors, such as qualifying for the Dean’s List each semester, being inducted into the Athenaeum Honor Society, earning the Academic Excellence and Dorothy and David Cooper Scholarships, and graduating summa cum laude. In particular, the Dorothy and David Cooper Scholarship enabled Tim to stay at Rutgers–Camden for an additional semester, during which he took Human Genetics and Microbiology, two courses which gave him enough credits to qualify for a minor in biology and to bolster his medical school application.
Tim had the opportunity to shadow medical professionals at the Inspira Health Network, formerly known as Underwood Memorial Hospital, for over two hundred hours. This opportunity exposed him to a variety of areas in which he could specialize. Initially Tim wanted to pursue psychiatry, but is now considering internal medicine. The shadowing experience was particularly invaluable as it reinforced Tim’s wish to work in the medical field. As Tim says, “The seed [to become] a doctor was planted in my head at ACCC, but it didn’t really bloom until I was in the real swing of things at Rutgers–Camden.”
Mr. James Marino, the former director of the Career Center and the campus’ pre-med adviser, helped guide Tim through the rigorous medical school application process, including preparing for the MCAT. Tim’s hard work paid off when he was accepted to Rowan University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. Though he has some apprehension about managing the heavy workload while raising his two-year-old son, mostly Tim is excited about starting his career in earnest.
“Starting at Rowan-SOM [this fall], I’m most excited to really begin focusing my life. I’m excited to meet my future colleagues to and to begin establishing myself in the medical community of South Jersey. The most rewarding part of this process will be the pride of knowing I accomplished something very, very difficult.”
Written By Julie Roncinske