Five Schreyer Scholars selected for Summer Exposure M.D./Ph.D. program

Ten-week program combines biomedical research, clinical experience

An aerial view of Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital (left), the Main Hospital Entrance (center) and Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute (right). Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Five Schreyer Honors College students were selected for the Penn State College of Medicine M.D./Ph.D. Summer Exposure Program that prepares individuals for career paths combining clinical medicine and research. Kaleb Bogale, Erik Grinn, Jenna Mandel, Rhea Sullivan and Andrew Tucker were accepted into the program and began their studies in May in Hershey with the opportunity to interact with biomedical researchers, medical professionals and patients during the 10-week program. They will also attend a research forum at the end of the summer program.“The M.D./Ph.D. Summer Exposure program allows selected Scholars with an interest in becoming both a physician and a scientist the opportunity to delve deeply into those experiences during their undergraduate years,” said Schreyer Honors College Associate Dean for Academics Nichola Gutgold. “Scholars who participate in this program get a much better understanding of the commitment required of this rewarding career option through time spent with faculty and physicians in their day-to-day activities and environments.”

The five Schreyer Scholars received their assignments to work in a biomedical research laboratory at the College of Medicine under the guidance of a College of Medicine faculty member. They will also shadow a physician during a weekly clinical exposure session.

Bogale (East Petersonburg) will work with Steven Schiff, M.D., Ph.D., and James Broach, Ph.D., in the Institute for Personalized Medicine. His clinical experience will take place with Xuemei Huang, M.D./Ph.D, in neurology;

Grinn (Glen Rock, New Jersey) will conduct research in the area of orthopaedics and rehabilitation with Henry Donahue, Ph.D., and will shadow Joseph Drabick, M.D., for his clinical experience in the areas of hematology and oncology;

Mandel (Maple Glen) will explore the area of infections disease in the research lab with Leslie Parent, M.D., and shadow Kathleen Julian, M.D., for her clinical exposure in the same discipline.

Sullivan (Landsville) will work in the research lab with Robert Levenson, Ph.D., in the area of pharmacology of substance abuse and gain her clinical experience with Dennis Gingrich, M.D., in family and community medicine.

Tucker (Phoenixville), who was granted an internship stipend through the generous support of the American Heart Association, has been paired with Sean Stocker, Ph.D., for lab work in cellular and molecular physiology. He joins Faoud Ishmael, M.D., Ph.D., for his clinical experience in allergy, asthma and immunology.

“We are delighted to invite these bright, energetic Schreyer students to the medical school campus to give them a first-hand look at the life of a physician-scientist,” said Robert Levenson, Ph.D., co-director of the program. “The students are so enthusiastic about their experiences at Hershey. We think it’s incredibly useful for them to test the waters before applying to a combined M.D./Ph.D. program.”

Schreyer Scholars apply for admission to the M.D./Ph.D. Summer Exposure program during the spring semester of their freshman or sophomore years. After completing the Schreyer Summer exposure program and working in a lab at University Park during the academic year, exceptional students may be invited by the M.D./Ph.D. Co-Directors to apply for early admission for the M.D./Ph.D. program during their junior year.

“The Schreyer M.D./Ph.D. Early Exposure Program is fairly unusual, because most programs offer separate clinical and research experiences for undergraduate students,” said Leslie Parent, M.D., co-director of the program. “By integrating laboratory work with patient shadowing, the students are well-equipped to understand how the transition from bench-to-bedside can become a reality.”

Nearly 40 percent of the 2013-14 Schreyer Honors College graduating class began pursuit of advanced degrees in the areas of medicine, law, engineering, music and science, to name a few. Based on snapshot data of five-year outcomes, 17 percent of the SHC 2008-09 graduate cohort received a doctor of medicine degree.

Penn State Hershey Medical Center is recognized as one of the nation's premier academic health centers, recruiting faculty members who are internationally known for their accomplishments in research, education and patient care. College of Medicine and Medical Center faculty and physicians continue to integrate the latest biomedical knowledge and technology with compassionate care of patients, while educating the next generation of physician-scientists.

Schreyer Honors College promotes academic excellence with integrity, the building of a global perspective and creation of opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Schreyer Honors Scholars, including Gateway Scholars admitted after their first year of enrollment, total more than 1,800 students at University Park and six Commonwealth campuses. They represent the top two percent of students at Penn State University who perform well academically and lead on campus.

Last Updated August 07, 2015