Potential recognized through a unique support system

Potential recognized through a unique support system

John Bowling, ENS, MC, USNR

John Bowling’s childhood was a struggle. At the age of nine, he was placed in a children’s home due to his mother’s cerebral palsy. He lived there until his junior year of high school when he relocated with foster parents, staying with them through high school graduation. Supported by his foster family and his biological mother and sister, he attended Lee University and graduated in 2013 with a degree in broadcast journalism. “I’m living proof that there are lots of kids out there who have so much potential but, due to circumstances out of their control, are unable to realize it.”

Unsure of his next step, he accepted a position through Teach for America as a high school biology and chemistry special education teacher in Hawaii. It was during his time on the Islands that he was inspired to pursue medicine. While working there, he felt a draw towards science and as much as he loved teaching, he felt a call elsewhere. Bowling spent a great deal of time with a physician mentor who encouraged him to consider medicine.

When he made the difficult decision to move back to the mainland and pursue medicine, Bowling searched for programs that would help him obtain his pre-requisite courses for medical school and found the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The Post Baccalaureate Pre-Med program offers individuals with a bachelor’s degree looking for a career change to enroll in a two-year preparation program to gain pre-med science coursework and offers assured admission to the UofL School of Medicine.

Bowling has been an active student leader during his time at the School of Medicine. He served as Historian and used his technical skills in digital media as well as his interest in social media to help document and promote the activities of his classmates. In addition, he was elected President of the Medical Student Council. During his time as president, he led a complete renovation of the medical student lounge, spearheaded initiatives to support and uplift our diversity groups, and contributed to several social events that brought all four classes together despite the COVID pandemic.

As a former teacher, Bowling brings a unique perspective to his medical practice that will undoubtedly benefit his patients. His advice for students pursuing medicine is insightful and emphasizes the importance of following one's passions. “Be sure of yourself and your decision; it will require effort and commitment beyond what you could ever expect,” says Bowling. “Surround yourself with people who encourage you and build you up, but also those who will hold you accountable. Always take time for yourself and do the things that make you happy.”

Upon graduation, Bowling will begin his career in Family Medicine with the Naval Medical Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. “It is an honor to be able to serve in the US military and I’m beyond excited to get started this summer.” The Military Match allows medical students to practice medicine in a variety of ways across the globe. “I love traveling and adventure. My communications with the Navy confirmed my decision! I’ve made some amazing friends through boot camp and cannot wait to go active duty in May!”

Though Bowling already received his Match, the School of Medicine celebrates his accomplishments and wishes him the best in his residency and future career with our US Military!