Committee aid helps students

Brandon Zeris, Editor-in-Chief

Area medical professionals and Pitt-Johnstown faculty have formed a committee to help premedical career students gain an advantage over other schools’ premed students.

The committee was formed last month, and members met to discuss what they can do to help students, UPJ biology professor Stephen Kilpatrick said.

“We’re doing things to allow students more opportunities,” Kilpatrick said. “They suggested improvements to the website, like what information should be posted.”

Students also are to have help finding local internships, Conemaugh Health System Graduate Medical Education Director Dr. Mike Ravotti said.

“Everyone needs an internship,” he said.  “We’ll be educating them on the expectations.”

Ravotti said that having an internship and local ties can help students when looking for jobs because medical profession jobs are becoming more difficult to gain employment in due to increased competition.

“We have global competition. It’s not just local now,” he said.

Kilpatrick said there is more competition at UPJ, too.

“We’re seeing more and more students interested in health professions,” he said. “This year we had 80 more students in (General Biology 1).”

Senior biology major Brianne Seitz said professors helped her land an internship working in a Windber lab last summer.

“They helped me get my name out there ahead of time,” she said.

Seitz said she had questions about the medical field after her internship, though.

“If I get my master’s, what do I with that? If I get my Ph.D, what do I do with that? (Area professionals) would help us find out about what to expect,” she said.

Ravotti said committee members are able to help students with those types of questions.

“They will bring exposure to a variety of allied health professions,” he said. “You don’t always know what you want to do until you experience it, and we have experienced it … we bring expertise.”

Once students get an internship, most will try to get admitted into graduate school, Kilpatrick said.

One of the challenges students face, when trying to get into graduate school, is knowing what to study for standardized tests, according to Kilpatrick. Committee members will help with that, too, he said.

“Some of them have recently gotten out of grad school … they’ve given us information about what is asked (on the tests),” Kilpatrick said, noting that the information is to be added to UPJ’s new website later this year