Personal Experience Leads Mark Fersch ’10 to a Career in Osteopathic Medicine

Mark Fersch is an alumnus of Lebanon Valley College

To say Mark Fersch ’10 was an incredibly accomplished and well-rounded student during his undergrad years at LVC would be an understatement. He participated in Student Government (SG) for four years (including SG president during his senior year), was a Resident Assistant, competed in track & field, performed with the College and Concert choirs, and even created a campus-wide healthy eating challenge. 

Fersch, who was a German major and music minor, was drawn to LVC by the College’s faculty. After visiting several schools, he found exactly what he was looking for in LVC’s Languages Department.

“I wasn’t on the campus more than five minutes before being directed to the German Department and meeting a senior student working on a research project one-on-one with the department chair,” Fersch said. “Then, after 10 minutes of a fluid, friendly, inspirational German conversation with Dr. James W. Scott [former department chair], I knew LVC was a place where I could nurture and develop my fluency and interpersonal skills with a wonderful German faculty.”

The personal connections he formed with faculty enabled Fersch to benefit from all that LVC’s Languages Department offers students, including focused guidance and rapid growth in linguistic fluency, a natural, community-like approach to advancing one’s proficiency, and external opportunities they brought to his attention such as the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Scholarship.

“The DAAD Scholarship, or the German Academic Exchange Service Scholarship, is a remarkable opportunity for anyone who wants to study German and explore culture more intimately,” Fersch noted. “If you have research interests, internship plans, or a desire to deepen your experience studying in Germany, the DAAD Scholarship may provide funding to support such ambitions.”

After graduation, Fersch taught German at a local school while still dealing with after effects of Lyme disease, which he had been diagnosed with as a Valley senior. His three-year battle with the disease led Fersch to realize his interests in nutrition and medicine—particularly osteopathic medicine—could be pursued as a career, ultimately combining with his language fluency to fulfill a dream of improving others’ lives through teaching and treating people at home and abroad.

Osteopathic physicians, or D.O.s, are fully licensed medical professionals practicing in all specialties who seek to treat the “whole person” and establish meaningful relationships with their patients. During their education, D.O.s also receive more than 300 hours of additional training in anatomy and learn to use their hands to diagnose and treat the musculoskeletal system. The comprehensive, whole person approach and deep personal connections experienced in osteopathic medicine drew Fersch to the field. He knew such a practice would offer continued application of his years at The Valley connecting others and serve his calling to change lives for the better.

Fersch took the first step toward these goals by earning an M.S. in nutrition and integrative health from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Next, he enrolled in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, and plans to graduate as a D.O. and complete his residency. Then, he’ll teach and treat at home and abroad with the most current, caring, and comprehensive available medical care.

“My experiences at LVC were invaluable in focusing my passions. Find avenues in life that light up your being and channel your energies for good. You’ll be glad you did,” says the future Dr. Fersch.