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MCC students reaching for Cardiothoracic internships

Eunice Mbafor & Adiu Arou

Eunice Mbafor & Adiu Arou

Marshalltown Community College students Adiu Arou and Eunice Mbafor are reaching for the stars, and they’re hoping to get some stellar support from family, friends and community members. The two have been accepted to participate in a prestigious two-week Cardiothoracic Surgical Skills Internship in Maui, Hawaii, this summer. They have just two weeks to each raise $6,000, which will cover the first half payment of the internship and accommodations. A GoFundMe site has been established.

Adiu Arou, a native of South Sudan, is an MCC sophomore completing an Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in Science in May. A resident of Marshalltown since 2005, she plans to transfer to the University of Iowa to complete a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry before applying for medical school. She is president of the MCC Student Senate, a volunteer at UnityPoint-Marshalltown, a Children’s Cancer Connection counselor, and involved in several campus clubs and activities.

Eunice Mbafor, a native of Bamenda, Cameroon, has lived in Marshalltown with her sister, brother-in-law, and their two young children since 2015. She left Cameroon after high school and studied in South Africa for four years, completing a Bachelor of Science in Medical Biosciences and a post-baccalaureate degree in Medical Biosciences at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. She then moved on to St. Matthews University’s School of Medicine in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, where she completed two years of medical school before moving to the U.S. Mbafor is enrolled in MCC’s Practical Nursing program, was just inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and will continue to pursue a path to medical school.

The two students are excited about the opportunity to participate in the American Academy of Medicine & Surgery (AAMS) internship, but are daunted by the out-of-pocket costs. The internship fee and accommodations will be $11,800 per person, with half due by April 23 and the other half due at the end of June. They will pay for airfare out of their own pockets, which they anticipate will be more than $1,000 each.

The hands-on internship is instructed by a team of practicing surgeons whose specialties include cardiothoracic, trauma, bariatric, plastic, and pediatric surgeries. Tailored to pre-medical students who are considering a future in science and medicine, participants will be introduced to the practice of key cardiothoracic surgical procedures and gain hands-on practice with fundamental cardiothoracic surgery skills. Surgical procedures that are part of the internship include heart dissection, aortic dissection, thoracic aortic vessel ligation, coronary artery bypass grafting, aortic/mitral valve replacement and suturing, tetralogy of fallot repair, and valve sparing aortic root replacement.

“These two young ladies are an inspiration to many of us at MCC,” says MCC Provost Dr. Robin Lilienthal. “They excel in the classroom, they’re highly motivated and supportive of others, and they are leaders on our campus … model students in every way. We’re all thrilled that they have this incredible internship opportunity this summer, and we’re hoping that they will find the support to raise the necessary funds.”

Donations to Arou and Mbafor can be made at the GoFundMe site online at Donations to cover the internships can also be made through the Marshalltown Community College Foundation, making them tax-deductible for the donors. The MCC Foundation can be reached at 641-844-5747 or online at; online donors should indicate “internships” in the “Gift Directed To” box.

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