A former football coach, insurance claims adjuster, investment banker, and attorney were among those who met recently for the first day of CU-Boulder’s Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical 2013-2014 Program. The seemingly diverse and accomplished individuals all have one thing in common: a desire to pursue a career in the medical field.
Ranging in ages from 22 to 37, the new cohort of Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical students will seek enrollment in medical and dentistry schools after the program concludes next year. The Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program is designed for “career changers” who were academically successful as undergraduates and have completed a bachelor’s degree but have not completed the prerequisite courses needed to apply to medical and dental schools. The rigorous, one-year program helps students prepare with coursework, MCAT support, individual advising, and more.
“I admire your courage for changing careers and for pursuing your passion in medicine and dentistry,” Program Director Brian Hand, PhD, told the group. “After reading your applications and learning about your successes so far, I am excited to work with all of you.”
Kimberly Aut is a former army nurse who returned to the U.S. from Afghanistan in February and moved to Boulder just days before the program’s orientation. Over the course of her career Aut has been gaining experience in a variety of settings, from medical tents in Iraq to obstetrics units stateside. Each experience has moved her closer to her goal of becoming a doctor, and she sees the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program as the next phase.
“There have been stepping stones to get to where I am going, and every part of that path has solidified my desire to pursue medicine,” Aut said.
Chris Ruettinger concurs. After completing his undergraduate degree, Ruettinger said he was somewhat of a “lost soul” trying different jobs looking for his calling. Then, as a firefighter for Colorado State Forest Service, he was part of a fateful medical call in which he tended to a 12-year-old girl who had fallen ill while at summer camp. Ruettinger helped arrange for the girl’s emergency flight. The experience spurred his interest in completing his Emergency Medical Training and ultimately deepened his desire to enroll in medical school.
“Helping that girl made me realize I was interested in the medical field,” he said. “I’ve finally found a career interest that I did not know I had in me.”
In between speakers, introductions, study survival tips, and campus tours, Aut, Ruettinger, and their new classmates were abuzz getting to know one another. These students will be learning together as a cohort — a central benefit of the program, said Jim Ahern, who completed the program with the 2012-2013 cohort.
“Something that really struck me was the cohort model and the way that the faculty and staff at CU have shown their dedication to their roles in supporting students,” said Ahern, who is now the program learning assistant and 2013-2014 cohort mentor. “That is what really sets this program apart.”
Ahern encouraged the students to take advantage of the university’s support network and to never lose sight of their reasons for pursuing the health field.
View photos of orientation in our Post-Bacc Pre-Med Orientation Facebook Album…