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Here Today, Here Tomorrow-the Life of a Kalamazoo Promise Recipient

Overmyer, Cody

Cody Overmyer was a typical kid growing up in Kalamazoo in the 90s. He was raised in the house where his parents still live on Westnedge Hill and attended Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School, Milwood Magnet School, and Loy Norrix High School.

"Kalamazoo has a lot of great things going for it. Growing up I liked that Kalamazoo was a smaller town, but still had plenty to do," Overmyer said. "There were lots of sports opportunities, art activities, and entertainment options like movies, theatres, putt-putt, parks, and trails."

He had already met his future wife, Kristen, when he was a junior at Loy Norrix. They were both a part of the forensics team. They dated for eight years and were married last June in downtown Kalamazoo.

He was also a junior in high school when he found out that some generous, anonymous donors would pay for his college.

"The Kalamazoo Promise made a huge impact on my life," Overmyer said. "I knew I would go to college at that point, but I had no idea how I would have paid for anything. The Promise expanded my options and prevented money from being the deciding factor for where I would go. It enabled me to choose where I went for college based on the best fit."

After graduating from Grand Valley State University in psychology it became clear that applying to Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine was the best next step.

The Loy Norrix alum and Kalamazoo Promise recipient was chosen out of the 3,571 applicants to fill the 54 spots in the fall of 2014.

Overmyer said that medical school has been a wonderful experience.

"One of my favorite experiences was the medical first responder (MFR) training we received right away. It taught us valuable life-saving skills, gave us hands-on experience from the beginning, and we even end the course certified as medical first responders," he said.

"That's not to mention the MFR course capstone day where we got to rappel down a five-story building and practice responding to simulated emergencies and mass casualty incidents."

He has enjoyed the clinical experiences, including job shadowing in ambulatory care, home healthcare, CentraCare geriatric health, pathology, and clinical settings. He also recently worked in the emergency department at Borgess.

"These experiences give us real-world correlates for what we learn about in our classes and slowly expose us to the world of clinical medicine," Overmyer said. "I believe that these experiences will certainly make the transition into our clinical rotations smoother."

He also enjoys being part of the curriculum committee and having the opportunity to help shape the future of the medical school. Having accomplished so many important things in one town makes him reflect and feel grateful.

"Kalamazoo is a great place and, first of all, it's my home. I have family in the area, as does my wife, and we want to be able to stay close with them as we continue on with our lives," he said.

Besides family, staying in Kalamazoo holds additional benefits for Cody and Kristen Overmyer.

"It's also a city of great charity. I have greatly benefited from the generosity of others, most notably through the gracious donors of the Kalamazoo Promise and WMed. From the strong arts presence to the beer culture, to the great local shops and restaurants it's a great place."

After leaving medical school, Cody plans to remain ambitious.

"My plans are to continue working hard and achieving success at WMed. After that, I plan on taking a residency in my chosen specialty. I'll work towards getting an attending position and from there I'll be building a life with my family," he said.

After that? Who knows, he may just stay.

"I think this is a great environment to live, work, and raise children," Overmyer said.

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