Pre-Med Pathway Lays the Track for a Career in Medicine
The road to medical school is a long and challenging one. But with support from three academic advisors, and with guidance from alumni, Michaela Jemison is building toward her goal of being a doctor through Widener’s pre-medical pathway program.
- College of Arts & Sciences
Young people are always asked the same question: what do you want to be when you grow up?
For Michaela Jemison, she knew the answer from the start.
“I always wanted to be a doctor,” said Jemison. “I think it was an intrinsic motivation that I’ve always had.”
Jemison’s introduction to medicine may have come from her mother. After moving to the United States from Jamaica as a child, Jemison remembers helping her mother study for her nursing exams and being intrigued from her course materials, like biology and biochemistry.
While the sophomore biology major isn’t exactly sure where her professional dream came from, she’s committed to reaching it through Widener’s pre-medical pathway program.
Widener’s pre-medical program is one of seven pre-professional pathway programs offered at the undergraduate level.
Whether students want a career in dentistry, as a veterinarian or an occupational therapist, the pathway programs help students align the courses and credits needed for graduate school. Academic advisors are instrumental in providing strategic support for students, like Jemison, to stay on track based on the field they want to enter.
Along with support from faculty advisors, Jemison also benefitted from guidance offered by alumni currently enrolled in medical school. The connection was made through an externship program led by the Office of Career Design and Development.
Hearing from fellow members of the Pride once in her shoes and with the same career objective gave Michaela a clear vision of what to expect as a medical school prospect.
“They told me that the biggest part of studying [for the MCAT] is about how to take the exam and not necessarily just what’s on it," Jemison said.
The pathway program offers Michaela the flexibility to build a course plan that combines her professional passion with her personal interests.
In addition to health and science courses, Michaela minors in African American studies, which she says gives her a broader view and understanding of the medical issues and disparities faced by different populations.
“It helps me to be well-rounded in all aspects not just on the science side, but on the human side as well,” said Jemison.
When Jemison isn’t studying or in class, she’s volunteering in the community with the PSC Bonner program. While her different roles and responsibilities leave little free time, Jemison finds her continuous drive by keeping her eye on her goals.
“For me, I see the end goal, and that’s what keep me going,” Jemison said.