Going to medical school was long planned for John Crumpler ’16. He took the MCAT exam in spring of 2019, applied to medical schools that summer, participated in interviews in September and earned his acceptance to Emory University in October. He received the good news on the same day that he was overseeing a major service project with his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha at Wake Forest University.
“It was an overwhelming day,” he said. Earning that acceptance allowed John to exhale a bit during his remaining college days. He completed his term as fraternity president in December 2019 and with a lighter class schedule for the spring 2020 semester, John was enjoying a spring break trip in Denver when he learned that Wake Forest was closing campus due to the pandemic.
He returned to his parents’ home in Bethlehem, PA, where they moved after John graduated from HIES. The university produced a graduation video and mailed diplomas. John received a B.S. in Biology and Economics.
“It was a sad, rapid de-escalation of the college experience,” John said. “But I had time with my parents that I will never have again.”
A few months later, his family, including aunt Audra Thompson '95, HIES 1st grade teacher, and grandmother Pam Mullen, HIES Primary School co-teacher, held a small gathering to celebrate John’s graduation and two cousins who graduated from high school.
In fall 2020 he moved to an apartment near the Emory campus and began medical school. His lecture classes are held on Zoom but he attends classes on patient care in person and works in a cadaver lab twice per week.
“I had not dissected anything since we did fetal pigs in AP Biology!” he said.
That was among his favorite classes at HIES, along with Global Studies and English. John played football in middle school and was on the wrestling teams from 6th through 10th grades. He was captain of the cross country team his senior year and launched the Outdoors Club with Reese Foster '16. He maintains a group chat with about 10 friends from HIES.
Wake Forest was always a contender for college; both his mother and paternal grandfather are graduates. “I grew up wanting to go to Wake. It’s a great size and has sports, a community and a picturesque college campus,” John said.
He intended to study medicine but after reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton and taking an economics class his freshman year, he decided to pursue a double major. “There are a lot of numbers in medicine, plus my economics classes balanced out the stress of medicine,” John explained.
He secured a position as a teaching assistant in the economics department which provided funds to help with college expenses in addition to his academic scholarship. He joined Lambda Chi Alpha his freshman year, which proved to be a great way to plug into campus happenings.
Classes at Emory have left John with little free time these days but he is enjoying the work and is optimistic about developments in medicine and public health. Medical students attend briefings about COVID-19 protocols and have been vaccinated. Professors frequently discuss the virus in classes as well. “It’s a crazy time to be in medical school but it’s very interesting to study the virus as it’s still evolving,” John said. “I love everything I’m learning and the people at Emory are remarkable.”
— Christina Mimms