First-Generation Students Find Support in SGA GroupJanuary 11, 2022
For some students entering medical or graduate school, they are the first person in their family to reach that education level. These students
may find that they are at a disadvantage from their peers who can turn to family members
to discuss things like effective studying strategies, financial aid, career planning
and more. With this in mind, a group of first-generation students set out to provide
a support system for their colleagues and founded a committee under the umbrella of
the Student Government Association (SGA) to focus on these unique challenges. Since
its creation last year, the First Generation Student Initiative has remained committed
to advocating for academic equality through mentorship, community outreach and education.
Osteopathic medical student Anna Klunk (DO '24) currently serves as the committee
chair and shares that when it comes to planning events, leadership looks to the group
to guide them on what topics are most important to cover. “When we see that the group
is confused about one topic or another, we take that as our sign to act and plan
an event around it,” said Ms. Klunk.
Recently, the group hosted an event in partnership with PCOM’s Office of Financial Aid to discuss the intricacy of financial aid and positive financial practices. Participants were able to share their questions with Brian Emery, assistant director
of debt management, and he discussed helpful tips for first-generation students navigating
Another main tenant of the group is the focus on mentorship. Students from across
academic programs, including osteopathic medicine, biomedical sciences, physician assistant studies and clinical psychology form mentorship “families” to discuss each program's unique needs and share relevant
advice. First-year students are then encouraged to stay on as mentors and continue
the tradition of sharing information. The group hopes to establish similar support
networks on the PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia campuses.
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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