Broad-based education prepares
Francis Marion’s Fennell for medical school

Luke Fennell knew what he wanted from his college experience: a degree that would put him on the path to becoming a doctor.
The biology major from the small town of Olanta found that at Francis Marion University — and more.

Fennell’s journey will continue next year when he begins medical school at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg. It began long before he ever set foot on the FMU campus.

“I considered going to some of the larger universities in the state,” Fennell says. “FMU’s small class size and the relationships that the students have with their professors, as well as the Honors Program specifically brought me here… I knew it was the place for me.”

Fennell felt home at FMU. But he reveled in trips far from campus us well.

During his four years at the university, Fennell spent time the in jungles of Ecuador at FMU’s WildSumaco Biological Research Station with professor Travis Knowles and the historic districts of England as an Honors Program ambassador with Dr. Jon Tuttle.

Those experiences helped Fennell grow in ways that changed his life, regardless of his chosen profession.

“As a small-town guy from South Carolina, it was neat to be able to go through the jungles of South America and travel around the Andes Mountains,” Fennell says. “International travel broadens your perspective regardless of career interests.

As a physician, as an educator, or anything else, these trips help broaden your horizons. It makes you a more well-rounded person in whatever career you go into.”

Fennell was also able to dive into the world of medicine during his undergraduate career. He shadowed doctors at the region’s hospitals during internships, and probed the world of bio-medical research in his upper level classes. Getting a taste of serious research is unusual for undergraduates at many schools, but not at FMU.

Fennell’s next stop is medical school and then, the Air Force, where he hopes to serve as an emergency physician or a general surgeon.

The road ahead is full of challenges, but Fennell feels good about his prospects. And he knows he wouldn’t be where he is without FMU.

“The relationships that I’ve built at FMU will continue throughout my career,” he says. “They provided opportunities I never thought I would have. … There are so many opportunities that Francis Marion has provided.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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