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From Marines to Medicine: Dr. Eddie Copelin II’s Story

Dr. Eddie Copelin II, American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine Class of 2015, took a non-traditional route to becoming a doctor. A Long Island, New York native, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve at the age of 17 while attending college. Throughout his seven years in the Marines, Dr. Copelin specialized in long-distance communication systems and completed an activation in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom.

When Dr. Copelin was honorably discharged as a sergeant in June 2007, he pursued a career in medicine, a field he had been interested in from an early age. He said he had always loved science and grew up watching TV shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy and The Magic School Bus. His father’s death, due to complications from diabetes, also motivated his decision.

Dr. Copelin’s commitment to leadership and community service – characteristics that he employed during his time in the Marines – helped him on his path to becoming a doctor.

“The physician being a leadership position, educating patients, being a leader not only for you patients but also for your fellow colleagues, these are all traits that are found in the Marine Corps,” said Dr. Copelin in an interview with American Corporate Partners.

Dr. Copelin was drawn to AUA for both its academic opportunities and its diverse student population. In 2016, underrepresented minorities composed just 13% of all U.S. medical students, but at AUA, they made up 40% of students. And while black medical students made up 20% of students at AUA, they comprised only 7% of medical school programs in the U.S.

“Their mission statement was to encourage diversity within medicine, which was big for me,” he said in his alumni video. “Also the clinical aspects, which was tremendous – at a brand new campus, state of the art,  a lot of technology.”

Dr. Copelin said AUA’s core rotations prepared him for residency, which he did in internal medicine at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island. He is now a gastroenterology fellow at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Long Island, where he is gaining experience in endoscopy, hepatology, and nutrition, in addition to gastroenterology. Dr. Copelin is also an advocate for improving heathcare for veterans, including making policy changes that will address the physician shortfall within Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.

Dr. Copelin is an exemplary AUA graduate, who has made service to others central to each step of his career.

Learn more about AUA’s exceptional alumni.