After completing her second year of medical school, Amy (Schlosser) Yelton (‘22) hasn’t been rewarded with much of a summer break. With her didactic or preclinical years in the rearview mirror, the 2022 graduate of Montreat College is ready to leave the classrooms of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine and its weekly tests to begin clinicals starting on July 1.

First, however, two critical board exams loom on the immediate horizon. Up first is the COMLEX_USA Level 1 exam to test competency in foundational biomedical sciences. That test will be followed by Step 1 of the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination), widely regarded as one of the toughest exams in the world. Passing the USMLE is mandatory for medical students seeking licensure to practice medicine in the United States. On top of those, Yelton has already passed the Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Basic Life Support exams for certification.

For Yelton, this intimidating lineup of exams is just the next step toward reaching her long-term goal of a career in osteopathic medicine.

“I really consider it a great privilege to be in medicine and be able to be a physician because it’s a calling that I thought about really long ago, and the Lord has really been faithful through all of that,” she said. “I had a deep care for people and an interest in humanity as a whole, and I knew that the Lord had given me certain gifts. I knew I wanted to do something that gave back to society, and I wasn’t afraid of working hard. I’m really excited to live out this journey that I’ve been on for so many years now.”

While she had long planned to be a doctor, her path to that goal took an unexpected turn in 2019 when she “had the random idea” to continue her running career in college. While growing up in Avon Park, Florida, Yelton admitted that attending school in North Carolina was not on her radar. However, that all changed when she learned about Montreat College from other athletes who were being recruited by Jose Larios, the Vice President of Athletics at Montreat College and a Florida native whose hometown was just 15 minutes north of Avon Park.

“I submitted my statistics one night on the website, and I got an offer the next day,” Yelton said. “It took a lot of dying to what I thought I wanted for my life and what I thought I needed for my life, quite frankly, but I convinced my parents to bring me to the Montreat Honors Scholars Day to see what kind of scholarships I could get on top of my running scholarships.”

By then, even seeing frost for the first time on her campus visit couldn’t dissuade the Floridian from choosing Montreat.

“The moment I got there, I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” she remembered. “It was beautiful. I had never been that close to mountains before, and I thought the buildings looked like Narnia. I spent three years there, and I absolutely loved it.”

By the time she arrived on campus, Yelton had two years of college credits under her belt. With that head start, she was able to earn a double major in biology and health sciences in just three years, all while participating in cross country and track.

“You need to not be afraid to make decisions that might not look like everybody else,” she shared, reflecting on her unique college experience. “I certainly was not as social as other people were in college because I just couldn’t be. I gave up a lot in college that a lot of people might go to college for, but I still had a wonderful experience and I still left with so many friends. That process just looked very different because I was trying to balance all of that.”

As a member of the honors program, Yelton found herself immersed in an educational journey that extended beyond her primary focus in science. Looking back on her time in the program, she recalled how those honors courses pushed her to explore subjects she had never fully appreciated and grow in ways she hadn’t anticipated.

“When I think back on it, those classes were some of the times that I grew the most outside my actual science education just because I was forced to think about a lot of things that I had never considered,” she said. “It was a look into a different world. To be given an opportunity to study those courses somewhere like Montreat was amazing.”

In addition to broadening her academic horizons, Montreat College impressed Yelton with its integration of faith and learning.

“I had been to public school my whole life and never really thought about bringing faith into education, even though I had been a Christian as long as I can remember,” she said. “Being able to get a liberal arts education while pursuing science was something that just blew my mind. I also loved the professors. The way they were able to have faith and confidence in the science they were teaching and put those things together was something I had never seen before.”

Yelton’s experience at Montreat College was also defined by an individualized education and a profound sense of belonging. That nurturing environment allowed her to thrive academically and personally.

“The ability to do research that I designed myself was really impactful not only for my resume for medical school but also just feeling like my thoughts and what I wanted to do mattered,” she recollected. “With the way the college and university sector of the United States in general is progressing, it’s becoming more and more important to go somewhere where you’re going to have an identity and be able to put down roots. Ultimately, people want to feel that they matter. Going to a small school like Montreat allows you to really get involved early, and you’re really going to be given space to become an adult. It’s not just an education. At that point, it becomes a change of your worldview.”

Another important experience Yelton had at Montreat College was being mentored by President Maurer as a Wilson Scholar. The Wilson Scholarship identifies future leaders and provides an opportunity for them to gain professional experience. That opportunity allowed her to develop valuable career skills and provided her with connections to the medical program at Liberty University where she is now.

“Being a Wilson’s Scholar has been invaluable in terms of getting me to where I am today,” she acknowledged. “Even just the administration work like the scheduling and the use of Excel and Outlook were very practical things that are still very beneficial to me.”

While at Montreat, Yelton also met her husband, Hank Yelton. On the same day that they graduated together, he proposed at the track on Montreat’s Black Mountain campus. They were married in December of 2022.

“We ran together, and we met the first year I was there,” she said. “He was a year ahead of me, but we graduated the same year. We got engaged the day we graduated. It was perfect.”

Today, as she prepares for her board exams and the next stage of her professional career as a doctor of osteopathic medicine, Yelton is grateful for the unexpected blessing that brought her to Montreat College.

“Montreat was an eventful time period in my life that really changed the trajectory of my life,” she said. “I know that sounds really dramatic, but when I consider what my life would have been like, not going to that college, and not meeting my husband, and not getting into medical school, Montreat was what God used for giving me quite literally everything that I have right now and all the things that I was praying for and dreamed of. He used Montreat so unexpectedly, and it was a really monumental thing for me to find that school and go there.”