How Paying It Forward Helped This AUC Student Earn a Scholarship
When student David Kenneally was in his Microbiology class during third semester at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), he and his peers were tasked with memorizing more than a hundred different microbes—plus other assorted important minutiae.
A daunting task, to be sure. But David had a solution in mind: the Bug-o-Matic. And this solution ended up helping not just him, but his entire class. In fact, the Bug-o-Matic was one part of how David earned a scholarship from AUC.
Because at AUC, Everyone’s In This Together
The Bug-o-Matic is an online quiz system—one that David personally developed—that contained thousands of questions pertaining to the concepts he was learning in class. By the end of that semester, he and his classmates had completed more than 18,000 questions in the system, greatly helping the class in its mastery of the material.
It makes sense that David would create something that also benefited his peers, judging from what he wrote in an essay he submitted that helped him earn AUC’s Student Engagement Award. This award recognizes students whose campus community activities help enhance and foster the AUC culture of collaboration.
“The culture at AUC is one of family,” wrote David in the essay. “From the moment I stepped off the plane, I knew I was not alone in this adventure.”
And he was right. “As incoming first semesters, we receive a wealth of resources from our upper semester colleagues that help to jumpstart our medical education,” David wrote. “Inspired by all the support and encouragement that I received, I have spent the last 16 months trying to make my own contribution to my colleagues’ success.”
Helping Create a Culture of Shared Success
So from first semester onward, David started giving back, figuring out ways to help his fellow students perform better. He created “study games” for histology and anatomy that he later shared with peers, using these games as a fun way to help his classmates absorb tricky material. In second semester, he acted as a peer-to-peer tutor for incoming first-semester students and as an anatomy teaching assistant (TA). And as a third-semester student (aside from inventing the Bug-o-Matic) he was class tutor for three courses, small group tutor for another, and peer-to-peer tutor for one more—all while still working as an anatomy TA and as a TA for AUC’s Harvey (simulation) lab.
Fourth semester was just as busy, with him continuing on as a Harvey TA, in addition to acting as a class tutor and peer-to-peer tutor. He even had time to expand the Bug-o-Matic, adding 1,000 pharmacology questions to the mix.
Practicing an Ideal of Helping Others
David showed no signs of slowing down his altruistic endeavors for his fifth and final semester in St. Maarten—he continued tutoring students, and served as president of the Alpha Omega Phi Honor and Service Society.
But, as David says, he’s all too happy to help. After all, that’s what practicing medicine is all about.
“I believe that all of us have entered the field of medicine with an honest desire to help others, and I am proud to be a part of a school culture that practices that ideal from the first day of class,” David wrote.
And even now, the legacy of the Bug-o-Matic lives on. "We've recently passed 205,000 plays," David says. "So it's nice to see that even though I'm off the island, it's still getting some use!"