PCOM South Georgia Hosts Virtual Summer AcademyJuly 22, 2020
PCOM South Georgia medical students and faculty hosted the Science and Math Summer
Academy virtually this year for local high schoolers.
Colquitt County High School and Cairo High School students virtually attended PCOM
South Georgia’s annual Science and Math Summer Academy (SMSA) on July 13-18. SMSA
is a summer enrichment program for local high school students that encourages them
to pursue a career in the healthcare professions.
The students spent the week with PCOM South Georgia faculty and students engaging
in activity-based educational opportunities. They explored what it takes to become a health professional and how to make it all possible.
Online summer camp
In the past, the academy was held in person, but like many summer camps, it was moved
to a virtual setting, something that SMSA faculty lead, Stacie Fairley, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, had reservations about.
“I must admit that I initially had some trepidations with doing a virtual summer academy,’’
Dr. Fairley said. “How do we keep high school students engaged? How do you make a
virtual summer camp fun? Those thoughts quickly dissipated once the program started.
The SMSA scholars were extremely smart and competitive. Every day we recognized an
SMSA scholar of the day, and at the end of the week the top three scholars were awarded
with prizes. Our SMSA scholars, faculty and mentors brought so much energy to the
camp every day that kept the students engaged. We had over 95 percent attendance every
Introducing underserved students to health care
No matter the venue, the goal of SMSA remained the same: to familiarize the students
with a wide variety of healthcare career options.
“We wanted to expose students from underserved populations to foundational science
concepts, which can be critical when considering to pursue a career in science or
the healthcare field,” she said. “This was accomplished by offering a variety of instructional
and enrichment experiences that helped the SMSA scholars to discover and cultivate
Students received crash courses on topics in physiology, genetics, microbiology, immunology,
pathology and pharmacology led by faculty of PCOM South Georgia. They listened to
lectures and participated in activities and clinical cases.
Kathleen Bryan (DO ‘23), a PCOM South Georgia SMSA mentor lead, said that although
the academy was virtual this year, students received great information about the healthcare
“For each day of the program, they received a lecture from a PCOM South Georgia professor,
which gave them a glimpse at what it's like to be a medical student,” she said. “During
these talks, our professors also discussed different career paths in healthcare and
Pathway to a career in medicine
Furthering the attendees’ understanding of how to pursue a career in health care was
a one-hour segment called “My Path to Medicine.” Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students of PCOM South Georgia told their stories, which included their failures
and triumphs along the way. From high school to undergraduate programs to graduate
programs to medical school, attendees received an understanding of the process.
“My goal was to show them anything is possible when you set your mind to it,” Jasmine
Rogers (DO ‘23), a PCOM South Georgia SMSA mentor lead said. “Each of our individual
experiences are unique including obstacles and mistakes, which is what makes the journey
worth telling. The scholars asked a lot of questions and loved hearing others with
stories similar to theirs. These stories gave them more confidence that they too can
be in the medical field one day no matter their background and upbringing.”
Exploring Southwest Georgia colleges remotely
The high school students also heard from Southern Regional Technical College, Abraham
Baldwin Agricultural College, Valdosta State University and Albany State University
when they presented information on how to apply and to college and programs that are
related to the healthcare field.
“A lot of colleges have limited or stopped campus tours, so this gave the students
a chance to meet admissions representatives and get to know more about the possible
colleges they are interested in attending,” Bryan said.
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About PCOM South Georgia
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the
Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both
a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit
institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields.
Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state,
PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The
medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019,
has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission
on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
For more information, contact:
Public Relations and Social Media Manager
Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003
Connect with PCOM South Georgia