Pipeline program: VCU Acceleration (2012)
Year in school: Sophomore in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences
Current major: Chemistry with a concentration in chemical science; minor in Spanish
High school/hometown: Chesapeake, Va.
Interview Date: Summer 2013
Eric O’Neal has long been interested in the health professions, starting with an influence who is very close to home: his mother, a U.S. Navy commander nurse. He also participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine while in high school.
His early experiences led O’Neal to strive for a career in medicine, specifically with an interest in radiology. He joined the 2012 cohort of VCU Acceleration.
“The most interesting aspect of the Acceleration program was the tutoring that took place at the Mary and Frances Youth Center,” O’Neal said. “It was a very motivational experience for the program and the mentees as we tutored them in reading and arithmetic.”
O’Neal’s commitment to working in the community continued after his freshman year. He currently participates in the VCU ASPiRE program and serves as service chair for the Emerging Healthcare Leaders student organization and a senior leader adviser for the Greenbrier Family and Northside Family YMCAs.
As O’Neal continues his journey to becoming a practicing health professional, it is clear that he will continue to focus on being well-rounded while maintaining his focus on academic excellence. O’Neal plans to apply for the Preferred Applicant Track to the School of Medicine through the VCU Honors College.
He doesn’t hesitate when asked for advice from those considering VCU Acceleration.
“Applying is a great choice to make,” he said. “You will have a strong, supportive network to rely on and the transition between high school and college becomes easier!”