April 17, 2012

Club Guides Pre-Med Engineers

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Founded in spring 2011, the Society of Premedical Engineers — or eMed — is an expanding group comprised of students from the College of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Haadea Khan ’14, president of eMed, said she is proud to represent what she called “a premed club for engineers.”

eMed, which boasts about 40 members, is one of several premed clubs at Cornell. However, eMed is specifically tailored toward undergraduate students who plan to pursue medicine after completing a degree in engineering, according to Khan.

“[Although there are] several premed clubs at Cornell, what makes us different is that we strive to promote the interests of students studying engineering who want to pursue a career in medicine afterwards,” Khan said.

eMed assists its membership in navigating the process of applying to medical schools, preparing for the Medical College Admission Test and finding research opportunities.

In a recent workshop on course enroll, an engineering advisor taught students in eMed how to incorporate both engineering and premed requirements into a single schedule.

“Knowing how to merge medicine and technology” is important, said Caitlin Bowen ’14, secretary of eMed.

Bowen said that several of the guest speakers brought in by the club have inspired her to continue on her chosen academic track.

“[It is easy to become] discouraged if your major is more demanding or your grades aren’t as high,” she said. “But if you’re determined, you can put your mind to it.”

Twenty-five eMed students will make a trip to New York City this weekend to visit Weill Cornell Medical College, where they will follow a neurosurgeon and sit in on classes at the medical school. The participating students were selected from eMed’s membership via online lottery.

Khan expressed excitement about the upcoming trip, saying the experience will allow eMed students to “learn more about the marriage between engineering and medicine.”

Matt Christensen ’12, the former vice president of eMed, said he helped organize the trip after speaking with WCMC’s Dr. Susan Pannullo ’83 M.D. ’87.

It was during one of Pannullo’s guest lectures on Cornell’s Ithaca campus — in a course called “Science and Technology Approaches to Problems in Human Health”— that “the idea to visit Weill occurred to me,” Christensen said.

“I had the chance to ask her about it after class … [and] she was very excited about the idea so we went to work choosing a date and organizing the conference,” Christensen said.

Five students from the University of Pennsylvania will also  accompany the Cornell group on their visit to WCMC. Christensen said that he also looks forward to coordinating a trip to Perelman School of Medicine at UPenn next fall.

Khan also spoke positively about eMed’s future, particularly given what she described as a “growing interest” in developing a major in biomedical engineering at Cornell.

“With these exciting plans, eMed club members are optimistic about welcoming more premedical engineers in the future,” Khan said.

Original Author: Jaclyn Chen