Friday, February 3, 2023

The Liberty College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) seeks applicants who are not only academically qualified but also well-aligned with the mission and vision of the program.   Jackie Mendez, MBA, Associate Director of Recruitment in LUCOM Admissions, organized a conference for Consultants and Outreach Coordinators from the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).    Participants from Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, California, and Puerto Rico were welcomed by LUCOM’s Dean, Dr. Joseph Johnson.

Jacqueline Mendez, MBA, LUCOM Associate Director of Recruitment

Participants heard about the Osteopathic Philosophy from Dr. Michael Neville, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Services, about the LUCOM Curriculum from Dr. Donald Raleigh, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Operations, about Liberty University(LU) Military Benefits, Tuition Assistance, and the GI Bill® from Caleb Berkland, LU’s Veterans Center Supervisor, about the integration of faith and science from Dr. Mark Blais, DPM, Professor of Biology and Pre-med advisor at LU, and about Liberty University Online Academy program offerings from Dr. Chris Rusk, Dean of LUOA.

Mendez stated, “We wish to accomplish two important tasks during your visit: we want to know how we can better support home school groups and we want to help you learn more about who we are and what we do.”   HSLDA leader, Karim Morato, Med, Bilingual Educational Consultant and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, discussed best methods to reach Hispanic students.

Natalie Mack, MEd, HSLDA Military Community Outreach Coordinator

Natalie Mack, Med, Military Community Outreach Coordinator, discussed special challenges faced by military families as they seek to educate their children.

HSLDA leader, Anita Gibson, High School Educational Consultant, helped the group better understand the challenges faced by Black students.

Anita Gibson, HSLDA High School Educational Consultant


Clarisa Loparo, HSLDA Bilingual High School Education Consultant, inspired the group when she told the story of how her father, through a series of challenging life circumstances, acquired an education that opened the door for him and his family to escape impoverishment.

Clarisa Loparo, HSLDA Bilingual High School Education Consultant

Morato emphasized, “So many Hispanic children are at a disadvantage.  Their parents don’t understand how the U.S. education system works.  We can help them understand and even if their children don’t wish to go to college, at least they will have that as a choice.”

Karim Morato, MEd, HSLDA Bilingual Educational Consultant and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator

Nikeya Young-Chess CoOP in Chicago, IL, remarked, “I have truly enjoyed this week. Liberty University has an awesome pre-medical school program, and I cannot wait to share all that I have learned with my homeschool co-op. I also enjoyed learning more about LUOA. It’s a great way to supplement your homeschool. So glad I came.”   Natalie Mack said, “What an innovative novel idea to bring together homeschool leaders from diverse communities to learn about the medical college and higher education overall. LUCOM, you are awesome.”  Nicole Doyle, President of the Dekalb Christian Home Educators in Atlanta, GA, and Volunteer Ambassador for HSLDA attended the LUCOM conference and was later interviewed on a local Atlanta news affiliate about the Black Family Homeschool Conference she hosted.

Pastor Andrés Laracuente from Puerto Rico added, “Esta conferencia me dio esperanza en dos sentidos; primeramente, esperanza al ver el deseo sincero para que los que hijos educados en casa vengan a estudiar a Liberty bajo una cosmovisión Cristiana. Segundo, me dio esperanza al ver la existencia de un colegio médico desde una perspectiva bíblica y no pagana. Gloria a Dios por el Liberty que está rescatando la medicina bajo el marco de Las Escrituras.”

Translation: This conference gave me hope in two ways; First, hope seeing the sincere desire for home-schooled children to come to study at Liberty under a Christian worldview. Second, it gave me hope to see the existence of a medical college from a biblical and not a pagan perspective. Glory to God for Liberty which is rescuing medicine under the framework of the Scriptures.

“The conference was exactly what we hoped for,” noted Mendez.   We are interested in seeking partnerships with these groups to improve the necessary diversity lacking in the medical community. LUCOM has partnered with HSLDA to build an ongoing relationship with the various groups they serve.

~ photography by Natalie Olson

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at