Michelle Coleman

“Throughout my time here at WVU I have had wonderful guides and champions in my corner that I have been able to work with to define my interests.”

As Michelle Coleman, a first-generation medical student, begins to wrap up her pre-clerkship phase, she reflected on her journey in pursuing her dream career. As the first in her family to attend college and medical school, Coleman has navigated each step driven by her passion for helping others and a discovered curiosity about neuroscience. 

"It's amazing because I'm a first-generation undergraduate student and the same for medical school. So, it's a very unique opportunity and privilege to be here," she said. “Throughout my time here at WVU I have had wonderful guides and champions in my corner that I have been able to work with to define my interests.” 

After persevering through many challenges, Coleman will soon earn her white coat on Saturday, March 9, symbolizing her transition to clinical care and allowing her to reaffirm the passion that has taken her this far.

"I'm so thankful to be here and get to experience it all," Coleman said. "The white coat represents all the things that it took to get here, as well as the things we're able to look forward to."

Throughout her academic and professional endeavors, Coleman has been fueled by a passion for learning and a drive to make a difference, particularly in the field of neurology.

"I fell in love with medicine and the brain," Coleman said. “I feel like I could make an impact - improving the quality of life of patients with less access to neurologic treatments."

Her interest in neurology and psychiatry was sparked by hands-on clinical research experience and mentorship at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute during her time here at West Virginia University.

Working closely with neurologists and neuropsychologists, she found a passion for combatting Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative condition.

As a member of the Mountaineers Accelerated Track to Enter Residency (MATTER) program, Coleman has a guaranteed spot in WVU’s neurology residency program upon graduation. This early assurance of her residency placement highlights how well-prepared she is thanks to her medical training at WVU.

“I was able to effectively demonstrate my strengths as an applicant early on which really demonstrates how well I was ‘raised’ here at WVU,” said Coleman. “There is a lot to say about how much your environment and the models you have influence you.”

After her residency, Coleman plans to practice for some time in West Virginia, driven by her clinical passion and firsthand experience of the need to transform treatment for rural populations.

She highlighted the lengths she's seen patients travel for quality care, stating that, "It opened my eyes to the gaps that need to be filled and showed me where I can make an impact most,"

For more information about the White Coat Ceremony, visit medicine.wvu.edu/alumni/about/john-w-traubert-white-coat-ceremony/.