Caitlynn Murphy (left) and Sydney Johnson are among five USFSM students recently accepted into LECOM.

USF Sarasota-Manatee students elated to be accepted into LECOM

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: December 04, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2017) The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee congratulates its first students accepted into LECOM (Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine) under the university’s Early Acceptance (EA) program.

Accepted were: Connor Buckley and Caitlynn Murphy, who will each pursue a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree; and Trevor Byers, Roxanna Font and Sydney Johnson, who will seek Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degrees.

USF Sarasota-Manatee students elated to be accepted into LECOM

Trevor Byers

“It means a lot and it’s going to help me to stay focused on my grades,” Byers, 19, a freshman, said.

USFSM and LECOM approved the EA program in June after more than a year of discussions about forging a partnership to better serve students and the community. So far, 11 USFSM students have completed applications to the program. Of those, 9 were invited to interview with LECOM.

Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of the College of Science & Mathematics at USF Sarasota-Manatee, said the chance to secure guaranteed admission to any medical or dental school is “an amazing opportunity.”

“It’s a great thing to have this local connection, especially for people who want to stay in the area,” he said.

For Johnson, a dental technician at World Class Dentistry in Sarasota, the EA program turned out to be exactly what she had hoped for. Her mother and stepfather are dentists and her two older brothers are in dental school. Her brother Cameron attends LECOM’s dentistry program in Lakewood Ranch.

She said she didn’t know about the EA program until her father, also a dental technician, showed her an article this past summer about the USFSM-LECOM agreement.

“Having this, being accepted into the program, it’s a dream come true,” the sophomore said. “Just to have that reserved seat, that takes off a huge amount of stress.”

A graduating senior at Sarasota Christian, Byers was looking at other affiliate programs when he heard about the agreement between LECOM and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Dentistry has long held an interest for Byers. As a youth, he visited an uncle who worked as a dentist outside of Chicago.

“He would let me shadow him and that’s where it started, how I got interested in dentistry,” he said. “I’ve been interested in it since the eighth grade.”

Murphy said she can’t remember a time when she didn’t dream about being a doctor. As a child, she was consumed with how the human body works. Now, she aspires to work as an emergency room physician.

“I can’t imagine doing anything but medicine,” said Murphy, 20, a sophomore and Sarasota resident. “I’m so grateful to this program. It’s such a relief to know your spot is guaranteed.”

Admission to the EA program is open to first- and second-year USFSM students and high school seniors who will attend USF Sarasota-Manatee in the fall.

To learn more about the Early Admissions program, visit

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