UI pre-health students to seek potential career paths

By Lauren Laws

Pre-health students have a wide range of concentrations that they can choose from. Narrowing them down can be a difficult task, and if they choose incorrectly, starting over again isn’t financially appealing.

However, with the help of the University’s first-ever Pre-Health Professional Week, health-based organizations hope to inform students on the different options available to them within the medical field.

A committee of leaders from six Registered Student Organizations hope that the week of Sept. 7 to Sept. 12 will be beneficial to those thinking of entering the health field. The six groups are Healthy Smiles, Pre-Optometry Club, Alpha Epsilon Delta Fraternity, Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Association, Pre-Physical Therapy Club and Pre-Physician Assistant Club.

“Students come into college thinking they know what they want to do, but there are so many other job opportunities (available),” said Dhara Patel, senior in AHS and president of Healthy Smiles. “I want students to see all the options out there.”

Karen Paulsen, associate director of the Career Center, said that the University is the ninth largest applicant pool in the nation for medical school. Careers range from physical therapy and dentistry to pharmacy and medicine.

“This is kind of like a pre-health sampler,” said Lauren Etmekjian, senior in AHS and president of Pre-Physician Assistant Club. “We hope to be informative to people who are unsure of what to do and give people access to info they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Organizations are given a specific day to hold their events to teach students about their respective health care career. Throughout the week, groups will bring in guest speakers, hold socials, give presentations and host informational meetings on careers and potential medical schools.

Some students believe that this week is fulfilling its task.

“I just went to Healthy Smiles,” said Amber Duarrani, senior in AHS and LAS. “I wanted to see what dentistry was about. A lot of health care overlaps and this can help gear people toward what they want to do by informing about professions, schools and how to get there.”

Even though there are only six organizations participating, the committee plans to expand the next time around.

“Next year, this week will be coordinated by AHS College,” Patel said. “They will be expanding (it) to the scale of Engineering Week and Business Career Fair.”