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ease, the labs were an inspiring learn-
ing environment for the eager young
Two years later, she met William
Ascari, MD, lead pathologist at Somer-
ville Hospital, who encouraged her to
move forward by applying to Rutgers
Medical School. "I had learned a lot,
including the fact that I didn't want
to spend my career in a lab," Dr.
Sampson-Landers says. But the work
provided valuable experience that
emphasized the importance of team-
work, she says. And, she adds with a
laugh, she acquired a skill that would
prove unique among her first-year
classmates at Rutgers Medical School:
performing phlebotomies.
At that time, Rutgers Medical School
offered a master's in medical science
(MMS), a two-year degree that fea-
tured academic rigor and a scientific
focus. The fledgling medical school
was ahead of its time in preparing
medical students. The Class of 1976
topped the national average for the
number of women and minority stu-
dents. "Rutgers Medical School was a
home away from home," says Dr.
Sampson-Landers, "where everyone
looked out for you, like family."
The MMS program sharpened her
interest in the world of research. "To
other schools, the degree represented
the strength of our preparation in the
basic sciences," she says, "and it was a
great foundation for the next level." At
the start of her second year, she decided
--Continued on page 58
Robert Wood Johnson