Student Profile

Health Professions Profile:
Dawn Beemer Karns and Chris Karns

Biology majors Dawn Beemer and Chris Karns made the most of their Allegheny experience while preparing for medical school.

Dawn—psychology minor—and Chris—an economics minor— were known as fair and caring leaders as well as reliable colleagues. They  both served as Peer Leaders for neuroscience professor Lauren French and worked as resident advisors. As sophomores they spearheaded the formation of the Allegheny Pre-Health Club with several other students, shepherding it through its formal recognition as a student organization, its initial budget planning, and a very successful inaugural year of activities.

Not all of Chris and Dawn’s interests coincided, however. Chris participated in an Experiential Learning Term trip to Turks and Caicos to study the biochemistry of a tropical reef. To make the most of the experience, he became SCUBA certified. Over the course of two summers, Chris used satellite imaging and GIS to study habitats for Lyme disease with an environmental science professor. And during summer 2006, he worked as an emergency room technician at Meadville Medical Center, an experience that cemented his interest in pursuing a medical career.

Dawn also participated in an EL trip, but of a very different nature. Traveling to Nicaragua, she witnessed extreme poverty and offered her time to help the people of Project Chacocente build productive lives. She also spent a summer working on a public/environmental health project testing for lead in Meadville homes and educating children about common environmental hazards. And in January 2008, she traveled with her mother, who is a nurse, to Tanzania to study HIV/AIDS and to help develop effective prevention strategies.

Chris and Dawn, each with multiple medical school acceptances, chose to attend Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. After graduating from Des Moines U COM in 2011, they began their residencies at St Vincent Hospital in Erie, PA. Chris is in emergency medicine.  Dawn is in family medicine working under the direction of another Allegheny graduate, Dr Bruce Gebhardt. They are the proud parents of baby Nathan and Lilly the Labrador Retriever.