Skyhawk Spotlight: Dr. Zeb Cope '00

“I remember learning a ton but also laughing a lot with all of the creative and compassionate ways the teachers engaged us.”

Since the age of five, Zeb knew that he wanted to become a physician. It wasn’t until ninth grade, however, that Zeb began his Hammond career after making a connection with a member of the Hammond family while attending Hopkins Middle School, his math teacher, Mrs. Lumpkin, who happened to be a Hammond parent.
From the start, Zeb noticed a big difference about how the classes were conducted at Hammond.

“Some of my fondest memories came from how engaging and entertaining classes were - Dr. Fowler playing his guitar in history case; Dr. LeBozec discussing the science of homemade kimchi during biology; Mrs. Petersen encouraging all of her students to find creative solutions to her physics problems and so many others!”  
Zeb found Hammond to be a unique place where all students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of things. In addition to finding a starring role on Hammond’s basketball court, Zeb also had the opportunity to sing in a musical, perform Shakespeare and host a talent show during high school. His introduction to the stage inspired him to continue acting at the College of William & Mary, where he performed in a play his junior year.

“I feel that Hammond helped prepare me to compete and thrive at the next level. When I left Hammond and went on to William & Mary I did not feel the significant jump in academic demands that many of my college friends felt. I felt prepared - I felt like the demands and expectations were much like what I had lived for four years prior to college at Hammond.”

Zeb received a BS in Psychology, a minor in Hispanic Studies and completed all of his Premedical requirements at William & Mary. While his end game was to become a practicing physician he also wanted an opportunity to play Division 1 basketball, and William & Mary provided the perfect setting. Post undergrad, Zeb played basketball professionally overseas in Europe, and during that time, he learned of osteopathic medicine from his team physicians. He continued his medical education at an Osteopathic medical school called LECOM-Erie in Erie, PA. Prior to medical school, he attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, for graduate school where he took graduate level courses to transition from life as a professional athlete to a life in the medical profession.

Currently, Zeb is a fourth year Obstetrics & Gynecology resident at Michigan State University College of Medicine in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He will be doing further training to become an advanced pelvic surgeon by participating in a Fellowship after graduating from residency this year at University of Louisville in a subspecialty called Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery or Urogynecology. He will be doing advanced training with different "routes of surgery," one of those routes is with robotic surgery.

“The first time I saw a patient undergoing a robotic surgery I felt as if I had found the thing that I would hope to be great at. So, my career goals center on becoming the best robotic surgeon I can be along with becoming increasingly more proficient at other routes of surgery e.g. laparoscopy or the traditional "open" surgery. Additionally, I hope to do some international medical missions and potentially establish a stand-alone clinic in a country of need.”

Zeb’s latest accomplishment is authoring a chapter of a textbook titled Human Reproductive and Prenatal Genetics about "Developmental Genetics of the Female Reproductive Tract." According to Zeb, it was a unique experience interacting and collaborating with the other authors of the book chapters and research investigators, clinicians and scientists from around the world.

If Zeb could have a conversation with his high school self just starting out on his Hammond journey, he would tell him to “embrace the awkward!"

“There have been many times in my life where I was entering a new situation and opportunities would present themselves that if I chose them I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone in pursuit of growth/education/new athletic opportunity. Become comfortable being uncomfortable because often growth or advancement or pursuit of education will require relocating to new places, encountering unknown entities and being placed on increasingly more prominent stages. Those moments of growth can feel awkward and uncomfortable - embracing those opportunities whole-heartedly however often results in amazing opportunities, amazing learning opportunities and every now and again pretty cool stories afterwards.”

We can’t wait to see where Zeb’s next opportunities take him.