March 22, 2021

Centenary University Graduate Follows Untraditional Path to Medical School

Originally focused on baseball, Ryan St. John went on to earn a master’s degree from New York University before his acceptance to the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, March 17, 2021—When Ryan St. John was a high school student, his goal was to play college baseball. Enrolling at Centenary University, he focused on the sport he loved, while paying just enough attention to his classes to earn decent grades. Then, the biology major met James Monks, D.C., an assistant professor of biology at Centenary.

“Dr. Monks listened to me, laid out all of my options, and introduced me to various forms of medicine, including osteopathic medicine,” recalled St. John, a resident of Highland Mills, NY, who first developed an interest in medicine as a longtime Boy Scout. “He reinforced what I had to do and gave me the encouraging push to keep going. Dr. Monks reminded me that you don’t need to be perfect, but you have to put in the work.”

St. John did put in the work, including improving his classroom performance and completing internships at a laboratory, as well as in physical therapy and orthopedics. He graduated from Centenary in 2017 and enrolled at New York University’s master’s program in biology. St. John currently works as a care coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Montvale, NJ, working directly with doctors on the clinical care team and with patients.

Now, St. John has been accepted into the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program at Rowan University. Despite graduating from Centenary almost four years ago, he reached out for assistance from Dr. Monks, as well as Centenary University Dean of Special Academic Programs and Professor of Biology Lauren Bergey, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of Health Science Craig Fuller, Ph.D., who is also director of the University’s medical laboratory science program, to guide him through the medical school application process. In fact, Dr. Bergey even coached St. John through several mock interviews to prepare him to interact with admissions representatives.

“The biggest impact Centenary had on my experience was my relationships with my classmates, teammates, coaches, administrators, and teachers,” said St. John. “They played a huge part in my story, especially Dr. Monks and Dr. Bergey.”

St. John’s advice to undergraduates: “Get exposure in different fields, talk to your professors and mentors, and talk through the thought process to determine your ultimate goal—what you want to accomplish and what impact you want to have on others. At Centenary, everyone wants you to succeed.”


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in Parsippany, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.