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85 Years of NBOME | Staff & Collaborator Perspectives Part 2

October 15, 2019

Beyond the NBOME board, executive leadership, and even our 700+ member National Faculty, there are dozens of staff members and collaborators helping us protect the public in their roles behind the scenes. To commemorate our anniversary, we turned to some NBOME insiders for their insights at the work and  culture of the NBOME. Last week we heard from, Shirley Bodett, and Dennis J. Dowling, DO.  This week a few more long-time NBOME staff and collaborators shared their perspectives of our work over the years.



Sydney Steele, JD has been NBOME’s General Counsel for over 25 years. With a deep knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sydney has been instrumental in establishing our modern Test Accommodations practices. In 2019 he won NBOME’s Santucci Award for a career of sustained contributions to the mission of the NBOME.


What was going on at the organization when you started?

When I started As I recall there were only about 12 or so employees in the Conshohocken office. There was no full-time President. There was no office in Chicago. There was no PE exam. And there were very little if any ADA claims by test-takers.

What were some of the biggest shifts in the NBOME during your time here?

The NBOME has become substantially more sophisticated in their testing practices, including Level 2-PE, and expanded testing into related health care professions.  Technology has driven a lot of that, as did my role in developing our ADA accommodations for students with disabilities.

What is your fondest memory of your time with the NBOME?

Working with the talented and dedicated people at the NBOME, and watching the organization grow from about 12 or so employees without a full-time president, to what it is today.



NBOME’s principal Research Associate, Yi Wang, MS has been with the organization for 18 years. She was awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Service.



How has technology changed how the organization works?

When I started working with NBOME, all of our assessments used paper and pencil.  In 2005, we moved COMLEX-USA to a computer-based format and began developing COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE. Following that we built and entire portfolio of computer-based, and even web-based assessments.

What’s your favorite thing about working at the NBOME?

Everybody probably says the same thing, but it’s really true that the people that make up the NBOME are really the best thing about it. I’ve been here nearly 20 years, and I’ve seen us grow from 20 employees in 2001 to nearly 130 today, but I still know I can count on every member of my team.



The first face you see when you enter our Philadelphia corporate offices is Rachel Maxwell. She keeps us running like a well-oiled machine as our Coordinator for Operations. She has been with the organization for 15 years.



What’s changed since you’ve worked here?

When I first started in 2004 we were just opening the testing center for the COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE exam.  Nothing was done electronically the first few years.  Each students filled out a paper application and mailed a check in to pay for their exam.  We manually registered students for each testing date were on paper and then uploaded into the system to run the exam.  We sent all score reports via snail mail as well. We’ve come a long way since then. Computers have simplified a lot of processes, but they still keep us busy.

What is your fondest memory of your time with the NBOME?

Do I have to pick one?  I’ve been here so long that I have so many fond memories of NBOME.  There were times when we were smaller when we’d hold company events at the company president’s house,  a company outing for an afternoon of snacks and swimming, the entire staff even attended dinner with the board.

What’s your favorite thing about working at the NBOME?

I have met some very interesting people while working with our National Faculty, but more importantly I have made some wonderful friends with my coworkers as well.  I think that no matter what, the NBOME is growing, but I still feel like we maintain a small company type feel where everyone knows each other, cares about each other and like any family, we go through our ups and downs, good and bad.


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