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Matthew Smith

United States Navy
M.D. Candidate, Class of 2023
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

“Thank you for assisting me in the transition from military service to a future career as a medical servant. I look forward to the opportunity to grow alongside my fellow veterans and share our experiences with the Vanderbilt community.”

Bass Military Scholars Curb Center Lt. Gen. Gary Cheek will be meeting with the seven incoming scholars for the Bass Military Scholars program at this time for a brief "orientation."  Vanderbilt University    Photo: Anne Rayner; VUTell us about your military service. What did you do? Where did you serve? What do you value the most about your military service?

I was primarily stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia, during my 6 ½ years serving as a Navy SEAL. Throughout my time, I completed a nine-month medic course and deployed twice. I was fortunate to serve with great teammates and learn resiliency, leadership, and preparation on a daily basis.

What are your thoughts on mentoring other students while at Vanderbilt? As a role model, what values do you want to share?

During my time at Vanderbilt, I will strive to emulate the mentors I had during my military career. I have seen first-hand that impactful mentors have a genuine desire for others to succeed and empower them to achieve. I hope to share the values of goal setting, hard work, and a passion for constant self-improvement.

While at Vanderbilt, what will be the focus of your studies and how do you plan to use this knowledge in your future career?

I will graduate with a medical degree in 2023, but I do not currently have a desired specialty to pursue in residency. Throughout my medical career, I will strive to positively impact my patient population through a commitment to service while maintaining support for the military/veteran community.

What would you tell other veterans about the Bass Military Scholars Program?

The Bass Military Scholars Program provides a supportive community at a top-tier learning institution that empowers veterans to share their experiences in order to cultivate meaningful impact across Vanderbilt and Nashville at large.