UVM student from Ghana finds unexpected kindness in the community

Local News

A UVM med student dreams of one day becoming a doctor.

“My whole life has been in Ghana. I got here in May 2019.”

With the help of a generous sponsor in the U.S., Michael could attend UVM’s post-baccalaureate pre-medical program. The course provides students with the necessary education needed to apply to med school.

“I did one year. I did all the courses I needed to do, and now I’m done with that. So, I’m just looking forward to applying to med school,” said Michael.

But Michael was presented with a challenge. After a year, his sponsor had to withdraw his support due to a family emergency, leaving Michael with a $20,000 tuition bill. 

“That was really difficult…to navigate a way through this whole thing. It was really tough, and then COVID hit and everything. I was like where is the money going to come from,” said Michael.

Losing his sponsor coupled with the pandemic started make the unflappable med student nervous.

“So I’m the kind of person you wouldn’t see how I feel on my face. But inside me, there was like a battle going on. Do I have to go back home? Do I stay? What do I do? What is the next move?”

Little did he know his involvement in Chi Alpha, a Christian fellowship on campus, would help him meet another sponsor; a local doctor who offered to cover $10,000.

“We just had a conversation and, in the end, he’s like, ‘let me talk to my wife, and let’s see what we can do,'” said Michael.

He explained being speechless in that moment.

“That conversation didn’t even last 20 minutes, to be honest. And I’m just like…you know there are truly good people around that are really not spoken of.”

To make up the other half, the aspiring neurosurgeon created a GoFundMe page. Already, he’s more than halfway to his goal.

Michael is considered by his professors and peers as a “Gold Medal” student, achieving straight A’s and scoring in the 87th percentile on the MCAT.

“He’s one of the best students I’ve ever had as well as a good general person. Always there to shake a hand, always there with a good smile,” said UVM Chemistry Lecturer Dr. Erik Ruggles.

Out of UVM’s 10,000 students, Dr. Ruggles says Michael is at the top.

“The first exam, out of 296 students, he was third. There was one 100, a 99, and then, him,” said UVM’s Senior Chemistry Lecturer Dr. Sandy Wurthmann.

“It’s not just he’s going to be a physician in the future. He’s going to be someone that cures something big, or leads a department. You’re going to read about his name in 15…20 years and be like, ‘oh yeah, that was the guy,'” said Dr. Wurthmann.

Outside the classroom, Michael helps his friends excel as well.

“I couldn’t have gotten through this program without Michael. He’s a great friend and one of the most talented people I know,” said Michael Nocek.

If you ask Michael Anyane-Yeboa why he wants to pursue medicine, he’ll give you many reasons. To put it simply, he wants to be someone patients can trust and rely on.

“Basically, I just love to serve. I just like to serve. If there’s an opportunity to serve or volunteer, I just love to do that,” said Michael.

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