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Student Organizations and Student Research

Your participation in one of the several science or health-oriented student clubs, as well as faculty personal contacts, can facilitate your entry into the clinical world:

Theta Epsilon Tau Pre-Health Student Association was previously the only Pre-Health Student Organization at Belmont. In Fall 2012 three new student groups on campus were formed for specific pre-health areas to provide instruction and information for students.


Pre-Pharmacy Student Association (PSA)

The Pre-Pharmacy Student Association is committed to providing academic, extracurricular, and career guidance for students interested in a career in pharmacy. Members of this group have the opportunity to become a member and participate in the national American Pharmacy Association - Academy of Student Pharmacists as well as the Student National Pharmaceutical Association.  

Pre-Health Society
The Pre-Health Club at Belmont is dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in pre-professional health scholarship, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary, and others. The Society welcomes ALL students engaged in the pursuit of a professional healthcare career. The Pre-health club offers opportunities for intellectual and professional development, provides a forum for students with common interests, and extends a program of service to benefit the college/university community. Find more information on the Belmont Pre-health Facebook page!


Prehealth Club Members

Photo of the AED Club 2018-19 Officers

2018/19 Club Officers

Co-President:  Crystal Lemus
Co-President:  Nancy Sharkawy
Vice President:
  Marcie Bulla
Secretary:  Estella Williams
Treasurer:  Erin Lawrence
Community Service:  Katherine Birdsong



Pre-Health Club Schedule



Student vs. Professors Science Trivia Night

Students and faculty competing at science triviaThe Trivia Night event was co-sponsored by the Pre-Health and Tri-Beta College of Sciences & Mathematics Student Organizations on Friday, February 24th. Trivia Night pitted students and professors against each other. It was held in JAAC 1037 and, of course, there was pizza!  There were five teams: four student teams and one faculty team. The faculty team included Steve Murphree, Jennifer Thomas, and Lori McGrew from Biology, Patrick Morse from Psychology, Andy Miller from Mathematics & Computer Science, and Duane Hatch (and his wife) and Davon Ferrara from Chemistry/Physics. The professors ended up winning - Dr. McGrew named the professor team “Team Extra.” Big Fun was had by all!

Students and faculty playing science trivia Students and faculty playing science trivia

Pre-Health Club Volunteers at Hope Lodge


Students volunteering at Hope Lodge and making Christmas cookies Students volunteering at Hope Lodge and making Christmas cookies Students volunteering at Hope Lodge and making Christmas cookies

The Belmont Prehealth Society volunteered on Saturday, December 10th at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Nashville.  The students baked and decorated cookies for the residents there! The members that participated were Mary Barber, Ambrose Rice, Dana Lynch, Ilyana Ilieva, and Crystal Lemus.

Prehealth Society Enjoys Serving Community
Both the Vanderbilt Heart Walk and serving dinner at Hope Lodge are events that the club participates in every year.

The club members made a huge pasta bar for the residents at Hope Lodge on November 6th. There were 7 students that volunteered. They did not have as big of a turn out as they normally do in regards to the number of people who joined them for dinner, but they did serve a woman going through some rough cancer treatment who had not eaten much the last couple of weeks. They were able to get her to eat plenty of pasta and dessert! They typically will make dinner at Hope Lodge multiple times throughout the year. 

Club Community Service officer Cody Rasner said “Volunteering at Hope Lodge is always my favorite event. You get to make dinner for people who are going through a tough time in life, eat with them, speak with them and you learn so much doing so. 

Since 2004, The American Cancer Society’s Memorial Foundation Hope Lodge in Nashville has offered a solution to cancer patients who must undergo treatment far from home. The Hope Lodge provides housing free of charge on a first-come, first served basis to patients and their families during their course of treatment. The Lodge not only reduces the financial burden, but also provides a much needed supportive environment. 

AED Hope Lodge (L to R) Kyle Bailey, Dana Lynch, Hannah Forgani, Brooke Pugsley, Mary Barber, Kristen Koch, and Cody Rasner

The Vanderbilt Heart Walk is a 5K and big fundraiser for the American Heart Association and it took place on October 15th this year. Volunteers from the club take part in this event every year and love it! It is a great opportunity for members to go and serve and have fun with their peers who they may not know all that well. Per Cody Rasner, Club Community Service officer, “As with any of our service events, serving with your peers always helps build friendships and that is also so great to see and be a part of.”

AED Heart Walk

Students in the photo: Jordan Hoffman, Jessie Midwig, Taylor Gerson, Daniel Campos, Alejandra Codo, Anna Margaret McDonnell, Mary Barber, AC Down



The Belmont Pre-Health Society club recently volunteered at Project C.U.R.E. in Nashville. They teamed up with Vanderbilt’s MSA (Muslim Student Association) club to help get medical supplies ready to be shipped to a small country in Africa. The following Belmont students participated in this work: Ambrose Rice, Jacob Curry, Hannah Forgani, Curtis Brown, Prisha Patel, Madeline Durham, Hope Fenton, and Julia Quandt. The group of students packaged over 100 boxes filled with medical supplies ranging from syringes and sterile gloves to general surgery supplies. For such a small group, this was a great feat.

Volunteers are a large part of Project C.U.R.E. and volunteering gives them the opportunity to reach out and help thousands of people in developing countries around the globe by sorting through medical supplies that have been donated.  Every third world country that receives medical supplies has their packages made especially for them after a Project C.U.R.E. leader has physically visited their hospital and assessed their needs, making each truck of medical supplies donated unique and based off of each hospital’s current needs. More information about Project C.U.R.E. can be obtained from

Pre-Health Club Members Volunteer at Remote Area Medical (RAM) Event


Ambrose Rice originally heard about Remote Area Medical (RAM) from Dr. Ragsdale and thought it would be a great idea for members of the Pre-Health club to get to participate in one of their clinics. RAM has mobile clinics that are set up all around the United States. RAM's mission is to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by offering medical services such as check-ups, eye examinations (eye lenses are provided with a variety of frames), dental care and more at no charge to any patient that is willing to show up. RAM's standard of service combines high quality health care with compassion and cooperation from their supporters, investors, and practitioners.


Volunteering is an important thing for Remote Area Medical. Most of the physicians, dentists, nurses, and general support are all volunteers that showed up from nearby or areas that are hours away.

The Belmont club brought a total of thirteen students to help out in general support, arriving as early as 5:00 a.m. in Henderson, TN to assist. As a general support volunteer, our abilities were limited, but definitely needed. We began our day by registering patients. Some of these patients have waited hours or days to be seen for the first time in years by a physician. Patients began to roll in around 6:00 a.m. and for the next two hours there was a constant rush of registering patients for their various doctor's visits. It was a great experience to meet so many patients, all there for various reasons, and really gave me and the other students a great appreciation for what we have and what we could give back to the community.


From there, the groups were then split into different tasks. Some of our members were put in the dental area, where they tried to keep order to the large amount of patients, while other students were placed in the eye clinic, where they performed several small examinations to prep the patients for the optometrist. For the students with blood borne pathogen training, they were allowed to enter the dental clinic and help with fluid disposal. Fluid disposal may have been a nasty job, but not to our hearty members. The job was simple actually, practice aseptic technique and dispose of the bodily wastes created from the patients currently undergoing dental surgery.

Belmont Students that participated: Ambrose Rice, Hope Kramer, Kallan Hoover, Monica Bond, Julisa Nunez, Anna Margret McDonnell, Austin DeMaagd, Brook Pugsley, Libby Ligon, Nelly Grigorian, Sherif Helmey , Jasmine Niazi , Mohamed Darwish

Students with Blood Borne Pathogen Training: Ambrose Rice, Anna Margret McDonnell, Hope Kramer, Nelly Grigorian

 A few Quotes from the students that participated:

 "RAM was an incredible experience. Being able to help in any capacity was an honor either as the first face to interact with the patients or helping the dentists by keeping the equipment clean." Hope Kramer

 "Volunteering at RAM as a general support volunteer gave me the chance to see the behind the scenes work that a mobile clinic does as well as the chance to interact with patients on a different level than simply shadowing allows. It was inspiring to know the people had waited outside all night long and still hardly complained about the wait. The world needs more of the giving hearts found at RAM." Brooke Pugsley

"My experience at RAM was thoroughly enriching and was an exciting time. Many do not get the opportunity to reach out to a local community and get to interact with patients. Being a student and getting the chance to experience running a mini-clinic is amazing. I would love to get the chance to do it again." Jasmine Niazi

 "I had an amazing experience at RAM. My favorite part was working the reflector, the machine that the patients first went to for their vision tests. I got to seat the patients, talk to them, and then look at their eyes and take measurements. I also got to read and take measurements on patients' glasses." Mohamed Darwish

"Experiencing Remote Area Medical, or RAM, really opened my eyes on the shortage of doctors that the United States has in rural areas. Being able to pursue my passion of helping people in need was fulfilled with this short trip and has motivated me and reinforced my desire to pursue medicine." Julisa Nunez

"I got to be a dental assistant for a day, something I never thought I'd get to do. It was very nerve wracking since I was scared that I might hurt the patient, but I simply was given suction duties alongside a dental student. It was very informative and a chance to do some real medical work." Nelly Gregorian

"I was completely amazed by the sheer number of people who came through the doors to receive vision, dental, or general medical care, and getting to interact with these people and help them register was a really neat experience. To see so many people receive the healthcare they needed and be so appreciative and grateful was truly a humbling experience, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a small part of it. I plan to volunteer at a RAM clinic again when they come back to Tennessee!"  Libby Ligon


 Club Volunteers at Ronald McDonald House

Belmont student members of the Premedical Society, made and served breakfast to guests at the Ronald McDonald House on a recent Sunday morning. The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville is to “keep families close” by providing essential resources and a “home away from home” for families of critically ill children receiving inpatient or outpatient medical care at Nashville area hospitals. The programs run by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville include a 32-bedroom Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room on the 5th Floor of the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.


The six club members cooked a big breakfast of eggs, pancakes, toast, and bacon along with juice and yogurt and the leftovers, along with the extra food and supplies they brought, are gathered and put in the community kitchen fridge for guests to have throughout the week.

Tennessee Physiological Society Meeting

The Fifth Annual Tennessee Physiological Society Meeting was held at Belmont University on Friday, November 22nd in Beaman A&B.  This society, chartered in 2009 as a chapter of The American Physiological Society, seeks to "enhance and advance the field of physiology with all its molecular, cellular, organ and organismal basic and applied disciplines of research and education and unite the Physiologists for this purpose within the State of Tennessee.”  Dr. Nick Ragsdale, Associate Professor of Biology at Belmont University, serves as President of this organization.

The keynote speakers at the meeting included Dr. Edgar Diaz-Cruz, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Belmont University, who presented "Tamoxifen or letrozole … Which drug will better treat my breast cancer?" There were also poster presentations by undergraduate and graduate students from the Middle Tennessee area. Justin Hughes and D’angeleau Newsome from Belmont University tied for the best undergraduate presentation award and the $100 cash prize.


There were four Belmont students that presented research posters:

Justin Hughes, a Biology major, presented “Study of Caffeine’s Neuroprotective effects on Caenorhabditis Elegans treated with 6-hydroxydopamine”. His faculty advisor is Nick Ragsdale.

Taylor Brown, a Biology major, presented “HPLC Measured Nucleotide Concentrations in Staphylococcus aureus Infected and Uninfected Caenorhabditis elegans”.  Her faculty advisor is Nick Ragsdale.

Maria Martino, a Biology major, presented “The Effect of the Tub-1 Gene on Mortality of Caenorhabditis elegans Infected with Staphylococcus aureus”. Her faculty advisor is Nick Ragsdale.

D’Angeleau Newsome, a Biology major, presented “Affect of Hypoxia Inducible Factor on Mortality of Ceanorhabditis elegans Infected with Staphylococcus aureus”. His faculty advisor is Nick Ragsdale.

Psi Chi - The National Honor Society in Psychology
Psychology Club
Beta Beta Beta - The Biological Honorary Society
Beta Chi
SMACS - Student Members of the American Chemical Society