We recently caught up with Brandon Gettleman ’15 (Health Sciences)! For those looking to get into medical school, Brandon’s interview below provides some great insights and recommendations to consider during your undergraduate years at Chapman. In addition to attending med school, Brandon is currently working with a wonderful charity called Curing Kids Cancer. The organization will be hosting a fundraiser on October 4th for those interesting in making a donation.

CHBS: What experiences as a Chap undergrad were most valuable to you?

BG: The Chapman experience I found the most valuable was the Leadership Minor I obtained. Mark Maier has steadily been an amazing influence on my journey through undergraduate, post-grad, and now medical school. Having a leadership minor is a unique opportunity that many schools do not offer and quite frankly being a leader is an essential skill when it comes to practicing medicine.

CHBS: Did you work closely with a faculty mentor? If so, who.

BG: Dr. Ken Sumida and Dr. Elaine Schwartz were two science-specific mentors that guided me throughout my time at Chapman. Both individuals were instrumental in my success be it with always having their doors open during office hours, offering various extracurricular activities to me (such as research) or even writing letters for my eventual acceptance into medical school at the University of South Carolina.

My first two years of college were very much a team effort as I navigated family issues that many people at that age simply don’t deal with. I can’t thank them enough for where I am today!

CHBS: Were you involved in research or clubs?

BG: I played two years of football and then had to commit my time to some other obligations. I completed one research project under the guidance of Dr. Ken Sumida analyzing exercise versus diet when comparing bone mineral densities in lab rats. Schwartz referred me for a research project at the UCI MIND Institute where we studied various proteins via western blot techniques in hopes of advancing research in Alzheimer’s disease.

CHBS: What actions did you take as an undergrad to make you a strong applicant for medical school?


  • Unfortunately, as an undergrad, I did not put myself in the best place to succeed as a medical school applicant (WHICH IS FINE DO NOT STRESS!)
  • Immediately following graduation, I took the MCAT and didn’t do as well as I would have liked. This prompted me to take a different approach.
  • I moved to Charleston, South Carolina to be near my one remaining Aunts; got hired as a Therapeutic Assistant at MUSC institute of psychiatry in the children’s in-patient psych unit, and retook the MCAT.
  • Although I improved, medical schools wanted to see a little more so I did a certificate program and UofSC where I was able to take courses such as biochemistry (with the 1st year med students), anatomy (same professor as 1st year med students), and physiology with the physician assistant students.
  • This program has led me to much more success than I could’ve imagined.
  • My number 1 advice if you don’t feel adequately prepared for medical school out of undergrad (which many don’t that is normal) is to find a 1-2 year master’s program and use it as a springboard to future success.

“Despite it taking me 4 years since I graduated to get into medical school, I am about middle of the class age-wise. If medicine is your passion, there are many different routes to make it possible, but perseverance is essential.”

BG: Chapman provided me with all the tools to reach my goals which is all you can ask for from a University and now I am putting that into effect in the real world. One day at a time I hope to make my Panther family proud out here on the east coast!