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WC senior selected for competitive medical camp at OSU

Ask a high schooler, “What was your favorite summer experience?” and they may respond with excitement about a youth camp, family vacation, or similar adventure. It’s unlikely to hear, “I went to a cadaver lab!” Yet this is the enthusiastic response given by Worthington Christian senior Jane Bechtel when she speaks of her summer. Bechtel did not go to a cadaver lab once over the past summer, she actually had the opportunity to go four times, and she describes loving every minute of it. “I got to hold every single major organ of the body, compare a smoker’s heart with a healthy heart, and examine five different brains,” she recalls. This unforgettable experience was made possible through a program at The Ohio State University called MD Camp.  

OSU’s MD Camp is a three-week summer intensive course for high school students to get a taste of medical school. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who hold interest in a career in the medical field (and meet certain academic criteria) can apply, and there is a special emphasis on providing opportunities for students who are underrepresented in the field of medicine. Bechtel learned of MD Camp through personal research, but her hopes for being accepted into the program were low given its competitive admissions process. Over 300 students (some even from outside of Ohio) applied for the 50 available slots within the camp. Bechtel was thrilled to have her application selected for an interview and ecstatic to learn that she was selected for the program.  

In addition to visiting OSU’s cadaver lab four times at the camp, Bechtel enjoyed lectures from many medical professionals and guest speakers, exposure to a wide range of possible medical careers, research experience, clinical workshops, and shadowing. Bechtel participated in a Code Blue and patient encounter in OSU’s simulated hospital rooms. She also learned to splint and suture (using bananas, not bodies). She learned and practiced intubating a patient, visited the hospital’s helicopter pad, and heard first-hand from a diverse group of medical professionals what their lives and practices look like. The program also offers practical steps for students to take as they progress in their education, such as how to make a resume, participate in interviews, network for shadowing opportunities, and apply to colleges or medical schools.  

Bechtel describes feeling well-prepared for the camp’s focus on anatomy, thanks to WC science teacher Dawn McMahon’s Honors Anatomy and Physiology which she took last year. Bechtel’s journey at WC started when she came to the school in 7th grade. Although she came to WC already having developed a love for science, something has shifted for her over the years since. She explains, “As I started to take my faith more seriously, I realized that we are created; we have been intricately developed and created.”

Throughout the MD Camp, each participant was mentored by a current medical student at OSU. Bechtel’s mentor was second-year medical student Bryan An. He shares, “Jane was a wonderful student who was very engaged in our activities and was welcoming to all of her MD peers. I feel like I can speak on behalf of the group that Jane had this radiant positive energy that she brought to camp every day that made learning and interacting easier and more fun for everyone.” McMahon shares in Bechtel’s joy at the wonderful opportunities afforded the young scientist through MD Camp and she speaks to the perseverance Bechtel has demonstrated, “Life has not always been easy for Jane, but she continues to flourish.”  

Bechtel’s journey has indeed been a unique one. She was born in Chenzhou, China. Shortly after her birth, she was left in a box with two nice outfits and a rattle. A teacher found her and took her to a nearby orphanage. She slept in that box until she was adopted by John and Susan Bechtel. As Bechtel reflects on her humble beginnings and unique journey, she shares, “I could have been placed with a different family in a different place. I could have a totally different life. It makes me feel like I have been genuinely chosen by God to be where I am today.”  

As she finds perspective and gratitude in her past, Bechtel looks ahead to her future with greater clarity than ever before. Though she is still exploring which realm of medicine to pursue, she has a keen interest in the brain. She credits MD camp with giving her clarity for her future, “This opportunity has solidified for me what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

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