From broken bones to medical school
Josh Cash has childhood broken bones to thank for his future career as a physician.
He played football, baseball, competitive paintball on the national level, and
raced motocross when he was young, and inevitably found himself with broken bones
in a certain orthopedic clinic in Newnan. He not only came away with several casts,
but with a newfound friendship with his doctor and a keen interest in orthopedics.
"Over the years I got to know my orthopedic physician on a personal level, and
he opened the door for me to work in his clinic as an ortho tech, someone who fits
people for different orthotics like knee braces and applied casts on patients with
broken or fractured bones," Josh says.
Josh's practical experience early on, coupled with the double bachelor's degrees
he earned in May in biology and biochemistry at LaGrange College, have earned him
a coveted spot at the Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon. The School
of Medicine selects 100 students a year—50 men and 50 women—from thousands of applicants.
"I'm so excited," he says. "Words can't describe how I felt when I got the phone
Josh began the process of applying for medical school by taking the Medical College
Admission Test, or MCAT. He then applied to the American Medical College Application
Service (AMCAS), which is the primary application source for first-year entering
students to most U.S. medical schools.
He then received queries from Mercer University School of Medicine as well as
the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Alabama asking him to submit
a secondary application. Josh received calls from both Georgia schools to interview
Josh says he felt comfortable when he interviewed separately with two doctors
"I really enjoyed the interviews because it was more of a conversation than them
grilling you with questions," he says. "They want to know where you see yourself
in 10 years and whether you'll fill into Mercer's mission, which is to provide
primary care to underserved areas of Georgia."
Surprisingly, he says the interviewers were very intrigued that Josh had studied
in Costa Rica during LaGrange College's January Term, better known as Jan Term,
a study-away opportunity that offers $2,500 to all entering freshmen to travel
during their junior or senior years.
His leadership on campus also played a part in the application process. Josh re-established
Phi Eta Omega, the pre-professional campus health care organization and served
as president. He also presided over the Interfraternity Council and held positions
as director of philanthropy, vice president and president with his fraternity,
Delta Tau Delta.
And, his almost-lifelong desire to be a doctor was evident to the interviewers.
"I've known I've always wanted to be a physician since eighth grade," he says.
"Going to the doctor and seeing my X-rays of broken bones and seeing my wounds
heal really piqued my interest."
While still a junior in high school, Josh found a true passion in helping others,
"I got my CNA and PCT certifications when I was a junior in high school," Josh
says, referring to the Certified Nursing Assistant and Patient Care Technician
positions. "When we did clinical hours at a long-term health care facility in Newnan,
we fed patients and cared for their daily needs.
"I can say that really validated my career choice. I can't really describe the
feeling. On the ride home at the end of the day, you go home feeling really good
about yourself and about knowing you did something for somebody else."
Josh says the faculty at LaGrange College definitely played a part in helping
him stand out from the crowd of thousands of applicants at Mercer's School of Medicine.
"Here at LaGrange College, I wasn't just a number," he says. "The professors really
get to know the students and help facilitate our learning inside and outside the
classroom. They're very passionate about student success. For instance, Dr Paschal,
one of my biology professors, had a tremendous impact on me, in both my education
and myself as a person. Taking four of his courses, he allowed me to become his
TA for two semesters, assisting him and other students in the classroom and in
lab, which was an invaluable experience for me. "