Medical school bound and inspired to achieve

Bryce Jerin applied his grandfather's wisdom to a college career well lived

Bryce Jerin isn’t an international student — he grew up in Harrisburg, North Carolina, near Charlotte. But spending the first eight years of his life in India indelibly shaped Bryce’s view of life, education and what matters most.

“I consider myself much more American than Indian, but because I had Indian perspectives instilled in me at a very young age, I never really let go of that,” says Jerin, an Honors College graduate who majored in experimental psychology. “In India, it’s God, education and family, and that’s how every family sees their life. They focus on their religion, on sending their children to school and making sure they do well.”

Jerin certainly checked the “do well” box in college. He graduated summa cum laude and with leadership distinction in peer and civic engagement, having served as a supplemental instructor for five semesters. Engaging with others is why he chose South Carolina — a large university with opportunities to cross paths with a lot of people. “Thinking back to my first semester, I really enjoyed getting to meet a lot of new people, many of whom I am still friends with,” says Jerin.

“I also became really involved in Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-professional honors society for students pursuing health care fields, where I made a lot of friends, got the chance to develop relationships with professionals in the health care field, and ended up becoming the chapter president. It helped me gain a lot of perspective and receive advice for how to get into medical school.”

He credits Eileen Korpita, director of the Office of Pre-professional Advising, for his destination this fall — the university’s School of Medicine campus in Columbia. “She connected me with a lot of opportunities and gave me perspective on how to write my personal statement in the application. She was also just an awesome person to talk to.”

Jerin also points to Erin Gatrone, his organic chemistry professor, and Charles Schumpert, his biochemistry professor, with inspiring him to do well in two challenging courses. But when it comes to inspiration, no one can really compare with his grandfather, the man who helped raise him in those early years in India.

“Because I never really had a dad, my grandpa has always been a father figure to me. When he called me and said he was planning on coming to visit me in America, I could not hold my excitement. Even in his old age, my grandpa traveled over three days and thousands of miles to come all the way to the university to see where I lived, offer valuable life advice, and remind me of where I came from.

“We took a walk through my favorite place on campus, the Horseshoe, and he told me in our native language, ‘Whatever you do, whoever you become, always remember to thank God for the blessings you have been given in this life.’ I will always cherish the memory of that walk, and I am grateful for the support, guidance and values he instilled in me since my childhood.”

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