Marcus Germany wanted a career helping children. The Cleveland native thought he would be a teacher, but after a high school senior class project and shadowing experiences as an undergrad, Germany then seriously considered medicine.
"I wanted to be a teacher forever throughout grade school and high school,” says Germany, 26, and a fourth-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati. "That was until I did a senior project in high school where I taught five math classes.”
"It was no, no, no, no,” recalls Germany, emphatically amidst laughter. "I wanted to do something where I could still work with kids and there would still be structure of some type. I figured I could do social work or some type of child advocacy and then medicine came across my mind, but I was a little off put because I never really liked science.
"So I entered college as a psychology major and going through I picked up a pre-med biology minor. Somewhere along the way it warped into a biology major and psychology minor. It kind of flipped. I was shadowing docs and joining pre-med clubs and I liked it.”
Germany, who received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude at UC, decided to become a ‘Medcat’–choosing the UC College of Medicine over rival Ohio State University. He will be among the 159 students to receive medical degrees from the College of Medicine at an Honors Day ceremony set for 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at the Aronoff Center. Germany has been tapped by his peers to deliver the class speech. The event’s keynote address will be offered by U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD.
After graduation, Germany will spend the next four years of residency training in internal medicine pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical Center, an affiliate of Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland.
Abigail Tissot, PhD, assistant dean of admissions in the UC College of Medicine, says the class couldn’t have made a better choice with Germany—an active student who has found time to be a mentor with Med Mentors, is a member of the Gold Humanism Society and was a student coordinator for Second Look, an effort aimed at encouraging admitted medical student applicants to actually attend UC.
"Marcus illustrates everything that is right about the kind of student that we try to graduate,” says Tissot. He came in with all the goodness, intelligence, the kindness and the passion needed to succeed in medical school. He had all of that and then he grew into this incredible exemplification of what a Medcat should be at the University of Cincinnati.”
Germany, a recipient of the IvaDean Scholarship Fund, remembers the value of shadowing pediatricians in Cleveland and at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as an undergrad and the network he joined by participating in the Caducea Pre-Medical Society and the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.
"I wanted to do pediatrics and work with children and UC is affiliated with the third best pediatric hospital in the country,” says Germany. "I knew even if I didn’t stay for residency I would get some type of exposure working at Children’s and I did, doing pediatrics clerkships and rotations and research. That’s all I could ever ask for and that was to get the best experience I could have in a field that I love.”
Now he offers some advice for first-year medical students.
"Medical school is going to be a challenge wherever you go,” says Germany. "There is no such thing as an easy medical school journey but why not be in some place that you can thrive socially and academically and have some really significant personal growth? UC offers so many opportunities for its students right out of the get go. You have a priority for shadowing opportunities and a priority for research in a laboratory if you wish.
"You basically get your choice to do whatever you want to do because you are a UC student,” says Germany. "Honestly, I didn’t find that myself when I was interviewing at other places. UC, the facilities are great and the faculty and staff are always available. They go out of their way to make sure we are successful, not only as students, but as residents and physicians. There may be better options out there but I doubt it. I seriously doubt it. UC is the place to be.”
Germany says his most memorable experience at UC is easily the College of Medicine’s Match Day—a celebratory event with balloons, music and fanfare in which fourth-year med students gather together and have their names pulled lottery-style so they may face their peers and open an envelope indicating where they will spend their residency training.
"Seeing everyone that I went to school with for four years, seeing all the tears and dedication to hard work and effort all poured into the huge celebration and all our dreams coming true was incredible,” explains Germany. "There was so much exhilaration on everyone’s face. It was really a special moment and I was proud to be part of this college.”
Participants and viewers of Match Day also won’t forget Germany’s performance once he opened his envelope and learned he would be going back home to Cleveland for residency. Germany performed a celebratory breakdance to a tune "Jump on It” from the hip-hop group known as The Sugarhill Gang, with a close friend, Brian Jackson.
"Marcus becoming a doctor is not a surprise to me,” says Jackson, a former residence coordinator for Siddall Hall on UC west campus, and a current administrator at Wright State University. "I am very proud of the person he has become, but Marcus has always accomplished goals he set for himself. Precision, accuracy and calm best describe Marcus.
"As intelligent and gifted as Marcus is, he has got to be one of the silliest people I have met,” says Jackson, who joined Germany, as part of a last-minute request before a packed room of spectators for a memorable break dancing routine. "He told me he got the chance to pick a song and when I learned what it was, I knew the dance had to happen. We went for it and it was fun. It was a great way to celebrate all of his accomplishments.”
Germany says his goal at the end of the day is to make difference.
"I want to give back to a community that has produced me,” says Germany. "I am very passionate about Cleveland and all of its citizens. Sometimes I think Clevelanders get a bad rap. We are sometimes called ‘the mistake on the lake’ but I want to make sure that the children of Cleveland are well taken care of. I want to make sure they have access to health care regardless of skin color, creed or background. I always say I want to be a champion of change for Clevelanders.”