The PCOM Science and Math Summer Academy allows rising 10th graders the opportunity to augment and accelerate their STEM+M skills, learn about the college and medical school admissions process, explore career possibilities and learn interactively in PCOM’s clinical simulation and anatomy labs and on field trips.
The PCOM Science and Math Summer Academy recently concluded with a graduation ceremony for the rising 10th grade students from Olney Charter High School who attended the intensive, two-week program.
During the ceremony, the students heard from Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and CEO of PCOM, and David Addley, DO ’96, a cardiologist at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals, who shared with the students his own non-traditional path to medical school.
“How do you get here from there?” Dr. Addley asked the group. “Find those resources and surround yourself with those who have expertise in these areas. Your family here at PCOM has infinite number of resources to help you.”
The students also thanked their parents and PCOM student mentors during the ceremony, before receiving certificates of completion and their very own white coats, signifying their commitment to pursue studies and careers in the STEM+M fields (science, tech, engineering, math and medicine).
Inya Wyche, a Summer Academy student, said that she applied to the program because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and has a specific interest in science and medicine. “Science is what got us to the moon, and medicine can help others. I want to try and discover something that can help treat diseases.”
Vanessa Valdivia (DO ’21) led a session during the Summer Academy on cardiovascular health, and said she volunteered for the program because she benefitted from a similar program when she was younger. “A number of people gave me opportunities throughout my lifetime to achieve a career in medicine and to reach my lifetime goals, and I think it’s incredibly important to give that back,” she said.
African-Americans and Latinos remain underrepresented in STEM+M. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, African Americans occupy just 6 percent of STEM jobs, despite making up 11 percent of the total workforce. For Hispanics, those numbers were 7 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
The Summer Academy is designed to raise awareness of, and interest in, STEM+M careers among this population. It offers high school students the opportunity to augment and accelerate their STEM+M skills, learn about the college and medical school admissions process, explore career possibilities, and learn interactively in PCOM’s clinical simulation and anatomy labs and on field trips.
The PCOM Science and Math Summer Academy serves as the cornerstone of a year-round academic partnership between PCOM, ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania (which oversees Olney Charter High School) and Esperanza College. Funding for the Summer Academy was provided by the 3M Foundation, AstraZeneca, CSL Behring, Teva Pharmaceuticals and the VWR Foundation.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 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 offers doctorate degrees in educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology, and graduate degrees in aging and long-term care administration, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies and school psychology. Our 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 in inner-city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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