“FSU put me on the path to success through the rigors of my courses and all of the volunteer, research and leadership opportunities on campus.”
Graduate Charles Ford III chose Florida State University because he wanted a high-quality education surrounded by a strong community atmosphere.
“What drew me to FSU is that you can feel the importance of community the minute you stroll down Legacy Walk,” Ford said.
Ford, the first in his family to attend college has dreams of becoming a physician. When looking for a college, he needed a school with a supportive environment and elite faculty and staff.
“In addition to teaching, many of the FSU faculty members are principal investigators in their fields of research,” Ford said. “They have elevated my understanding of biological and psychological concepts while making me feel like I was part of a family.”
The native of Tampa, Florida, took the challenging path of double majoring in biology and psychology because it encompassed his love of science and helped him on his journey to medical school.
“I want to become a physician because it is a lifelong career dedicated to the interactions and gratification of the human experience, and I want to impact lives,” Ford said.
Ford was very involved with research from the get-go. He worked with professors James Olcese and David Meckes at the FSU College of Medicine researching the relationship between exosomes, transgenic Alzheimer’s mice and their role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
“I think being involved with research was a vital part of my college experience as I grew closer to my professors,” Ford said. “It allowed me to understand what I was learning on a much deeper level.”
Ford’s work in the lab led to him being one of the contributing authors, along with Meckes, to an article entitled “An optimized method for purification of whole brain-derived extracellular vesicles reveals insight into neurodegenerative processes in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” which was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.
“Charles was an enthusiastic student who was always eager to learn new things and help others in the laboratory,” Meckes said. “I am confident he will become an excellent caring physician that serves his community well.”
In summer 2017, Ford got the opportunity to travel and take his medical studies abroad after receiving a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship through the FSU Global Scholars program. He spent nine weeks on a service-learning trip to Ghana, where he interned at a medical facility helping people in the local community.
Ford worked with the non-government organization, Humanity and Community Development Projects Ghana. During the trip, he raised $500 to conduct health screenings, eye exams and purchase glasses and medicine for a village community. He worked in various medical wards in the Volta Regional Hospital of Ghana, conducting ethnographic research in two village communities and touring the Volta Region of Ghana.
“This was an experience I will never forget,” Ford said. “My Global Scholars experience helped shape and develop my passion for serving underserved communities and increasing public health initiatives in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.”
Ford has also been heavily involved in helping those in need at the local level. He accumulated more than 700 volunteer hours on campus and in the Tallahassee community. Ford worked with organizations like the Southern Scholarship Foundation, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s Adult Day Care Center, the FSU Medical Response Unit, HCDP Ghana, the Alzheimer’s Project, FSU USSTRIDE and the FSU Pre-Medical American Medical Student Association.
“I think giving back to the community is extremely important, not only for the development of our community but also for personal development,” Ford said. “All of my experiences have culminated in my completion of the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society which was a guiding light in my involvement.”
Ford’s fondest memories were during the two years he was a proud member of the world-renowned FSU Marching Chiefs.
“The experience I will always remember is stepping out onto the field in Doak Campbell Stadium with 419 of my closest friends,” Ford said. “I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything in the world. I played my heart out with these people and have learned what it means to be a true Seminole.”
Ford was selected as a semifinalist for a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom but unfortunately was not selected as a finalist.
“I was so glad for the opportunity to work with the Office of National Fellowship on my scholarship applications,” Ford said. “I would suggest every student go visit that office as soon as you can because the possibilities are endless.”
Now that he has graduated, Ford will enroll at the University of South Florida in the fall and work toward a master’s in public health on the path to becoming a specialized physician.
“FSU put me on the path to success through the rigors of my courses and all of the volunteer, research and leadership opportunities on campus,” Ford said. “I am proud to be the first person in my family to graduate from a four-year university, and I have abundant gratitude for FSU and my family for all the sacrifices they have made along the way to get me to this point.”
By Susan Hansen, University Communications
Produced by the offices of Information Technology Services, the Provost, Student Affairs, Undergraduate Studies and University Communications.