April 29, 2015
WCU pre-med student Denston Carey, Jr., managed a heavy 19-credit course load this semester, and his summer will be no less intense. He is one of only 10 students accepted into Thomas Jefferson University's Summer Training and Enrichment Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP).
The sophomore from Trevose, Pa., joined WCU's pre-med program last fall and is majoring in cell and molecular biology. He calls West Chester's pre-med program "impressive. ... It's smaller than other schools, and that's allowed me to get to know my professors on a first-name basis." That's a major factor in why West Chester is the right fit for him, Carey says. Carey is the current recipient of WCU's pre-med program scholarship and is maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
The highly competitive STEP-UP program is oriented toward college juniors and seniors who are underrepresented in medicine, come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and intend to apply to medical school. It is an intensive eight-week program that requires pre-med students to dedicate 40 hours per week to the experience, which provides them with skills and support to enhance their qualifications to successfully apply to medical school. The curriculum includes Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) prep courses, comprehensive workshops, educational sessions, 60 hours of clinical shadowing, and medical skills workshops.
Carey, who is also a psychology minor, was accepted to both Jefferson and a similar program at Pittsburgh University - a significant accomplishment for a youth entering college as an undeclared major. He chose Jefferson's program for the amount of free MCAT course prep work, noting, "They tell you what you need to know to successfully apply to medical school."
Pre-med advisor Stephen Zimniski speaks highly of Carey's drive and determination. The serious, soft-spoken student had already begun looking for summer programs and shadowing for medical school at the time that the STEP-UP offer became available. He volunteers at Chester County Hospital once a week and works with incoming freshmen through the University's Brother to Brother program, which helps smooth students' transition to college.
Since he was in high school, Carey says he's been interested in the sciences, enjoying the challenges they pose, and knew he wanted a major that involved medicine. He chose cell and molecular biology because he wanted a deeper understanding into biology. He intends to study neuroscience in medical school on his way to becoming a neurologist.
As his journey intensifies, he is looking forward to this summer's hard work, anticipating not only the MCAT prep and clinical shadowing, but also getting to know the doctors at Jefferson Hospital.
For more information, contact Jeffery Osgood.