PCOM's week-long summer program is designed to increase awareness of STEM+M careers
for underrepresented high school students.
Recently, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) hosted its annual Science and Math Summer Academy for local high school students.
This week-long program was designed to increase awareness of STEM+M (science, technology,
engineering, math, plus medicine) careers for underrepresented high school students.
The program included 32 high school students from across the Philadelphia area and
featured an interactive curriculum with activities ranging from a virtual brain lab,
interview opportunities with current PCOM students and an opportunity to present research
to peers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was virtual.
“Overall the program was a huge success,” shared Alicia Hahn-Murphy, MS, diversity and inclusion program coordinator and director of this year’s program. “I was particularly impressed
by these students as they had just completed their school year the Friday before the
program began. They were very involved in all the activities, they asked great questions
and they were excited to share what they learned with their peers,” continued Ms.
The Summer Academy aims to create a pathway to foster interest in STEM+M careers among
minority students who are often underrepresented in medicine. This year’s class of
students included tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders from across the Philadelphia
area. Several students are also a part of the HPREP (health professions exposure)
program organized by PCOM admissions and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). Esperanza College also helped
PCOM recruit students for this year’s program.
“I didn’t have anything like this when I was in high school,” shared Alana Franco
(DO ‘24), lead mentor of this year’s program. “I am happy that the students were able
to get a lot out of the program and that they were excited to be involved in these
activities,” continued Ms. Franco.
After a week of interactive programming, students were invited to present research
on a number of current public health topics including healthy sleep patterns, maternal
mortality in Black women, and vaccine hesitancy. Students were also invited to complete
a brief survey on their time in the program. Many students shared that learning about
the various careers in the field inspired them to pursue a career in healthcare. One student shared “All the mentors were so welcoming and being in such a large
group filled with POC [people of color] was empowering.”
All students who participated in the Science and Math Summer Academy will be invited
to come on campus in the fall to continue their learning and participate in additional
hands-on activities. PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia are also hosting Summer Math and Science Academies on their respective campuses.
This year’s Science and Math Summer Academy was sponsored by 3M, Hologic (donations
were split between PCOM and PCOM Georgia) and Christopher Ludwick Foundation.
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, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy,
physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences,
forensic medicine, mental health counseling, 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.
For more information, contact: Daniel McCunney Associate Director, News and Media Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 215-871-6304 | Cell: