An Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine medical student is set to spend the next year at Harvard University, participating in a fellowship while pursuing a public health master’s degree.

Student Success


OUWB third-year student accepted into prestigious Ivy League fellowship

An image of a medical student at a community health fair

OUWB student Nicholas Ang volunteers at the 2020 Chandler Park Academy Health Fair. (Photo by John McTaggart)

Student Success

icon of a calendarJuly 6, 2022

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

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An Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine medical student is set to spend the next year at Harvard University, participating in a fellowship while pursuing a public health master’s degree.

Nicholas Ang says the decision to head to Boston for a year essentially can be boiled down to one thing: a desire to one day be the best possible advocate he can be for patients.

Participation in the Zuckerman Fellows Program will go a long way in helping him be just that, he says. When he’s done at Harvard, Ang says he will return to OUWB for his last year of medical school.   

“I want to grow as much as I can, and take every opportunity I can to become the best version of myself so that I can be the best physician for my patients,” he says.

While at OUWB, Ang has been involved in various extracurriculars, from serving on the Medical School Government executive board to holding a leadership position with Street Medicine Oakland. He was recently inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Ang says stepping away from medical school for a year is a decision that reflects a tenet in which he strongly believes.

“You just have to go after things,” he says. “You can’t be afraid of being rejected, can’t be afraid of being told no.”

‘Beyond happy’

Ang grew up in Rochester and attended Rochester High School, just 2.5 miles from the campus of Oakland University.

For undergrad, Ang attended Wayne State University, where he was a psychology major. At Wayne, he was part of the school’s Irvin D. Reid Honors College, its former MedStart program, and helped create Detroit Feedback Loop — a nonprofit that aims to connect cafeterias, restaurants, and other businesses that have leftover food with Detroit residents who are in need.

The summer between receiving his undergraduate degree and starting medical school, Ang worked for the Gilbert Family Foundation, which is focused on researching neurofibromatosis.

Ang interviewed at several medical schools and says he “ended up falling in love with (OUWB),“ and that “it just seemed right” when he learned more about the school.

“The medical students all seemed happy,” he says. “They are integrated with their community, which was a really big deal for me. I wanted to be part of a school that supported students to actively engage with and built up their class and surrounding community.”

Ang started at OUWB in 2019 as part of the Class of 2023.

He says he’s “beyond happy with the decision.”

COVID-19 testing in Detroit

OUWB medical students (left to right) Brent Yelton, Ang, Mahmoud Hijazi, and Jody Esguerra pose for a April 2020 picture after helping at a regional COVID-19 testing site in Detroit. (Submitted photo)

“(OUWB) has allowed me to achieve a lot of things that don’t think I would have had the opportunities to do at other universities,” says Ang. “I got the chance to pursue multiple extracurricular activities at the same time and receive support for it from faculty and other students. It’s always felt like everyone supports each other to do good work.”

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Ang also was among the first OUWB students to step up and volunteer at a testing site in Detroit.

Between first- and second-year, Ang was among nine OUWB students who were awarded internships with Beaumont Health. 

Ang served as vice president for OUWB’s Medical Student Government (MSG) for the 2020-21 school year.

He has been part of the leadership team for Street Medicine Oakland, helping grow the organization that was founded in 2019.

Further, Ang worked closely with the American Medical Association, serving in various capacities — most recently as vice chair of the organization’s State of Michigan Medical Student Section.

“It provided me with exposure to public policy and to patient advocacy,” he says. “That set me on the track that I am, and I’m glad I could be involved with the AMA.” 

‘Why not?’

The Zuckerman Fellows Program is for people from the fields of medicine, law, and business. Participants are equipped “to provide leadership for the common good by making it possible for them to pursue public service degrees” at one of several Harvard schools.

In Ang’s case, he will pursue a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The accelerated program is designed to be completed in one year.

The Zuckerman Fellows Program is through the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership (CPL), and provides recipients with full tuition and health insurance fees for one year plus a living stipend.

“The program’s value proposition extends, however, beyond financial support: fellows come together regularly — both as a cohort and with the broader pool of CPL fellows — for dinners, speakers, retreats, and other experiential learning opportunities, including a field experience trip to another city or region,” states a description of the program. “This co-curricular program is designed to enrich the fellows’ academic experience, develop leadership skills, and build lasting ties that serve them beyond their years at Harvard.”

According to the program website, Zuckerman Fellows “are selected on the basis of outstanding leadership ability with potential for significant impact to advance the public good, commitment to public service, and intellectual distinction and academic achievement.”

Ang admits it was somewhat intimidating to apply to Harvard, but says he would one day regret it if he didn’t at least try.

For those who might be interested in similar opportunities, Ang suggests they go for it.

“For people who are even slightly considering something like this, I say why not?” he says. “While we’re still in this process of pursuing education, this is a great time to take a year or two off to do something different to grow your foundation further.”

Ang adds that he’s grateful for those who have supported him along the way, including Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB. Ang says Mezwa was one of the two who wrote letters of recommendation as part of his application to the Harvard program.

Ang says he is especially appreciative of the support he’s received from other students at OUWB.

“I feel supported by my classmates…and I want to do something good with that support,” he says. “I like the culture that our class has…it’s allowed us to grow together and encouraged me to take risks to pursue an opportunity like this.”

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