Eighteen Allegheny Students Shadow Health Care Professionals

For the 16th consecutive year, Allegheny’s Office of Pre-Professional Studies under Director Kirsten Peterson ’78, in collaboration with the Office of Career Education, organized the 2015 Experiential Learning Health Care Shadowing Experience Program. For three intensive weeks in May, eighteen Allegheny students gained exposure to various health care fields related to their majors and areas of interest.

Health care professionals, who are also Allegheny alumni and friends of the College, volunteered their time and expertise to provide students opportunities to see first-hand their typical days and gain exposure to the health profession working environment. The eighteen prearranged shadow opportunities were offered in specialties such as human medicine, dental medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry and veterinary medicine.

Student responses to these shadow opportunities have been enthusiastic and appreciative. Zachery Shomo ’18 shadowed Dr. Daniel Altman, Allegheny Class of 1983.

“The Experiential Learning Shadowing Term provided me a glimpse into the world of orthopedic medicine during my three weeks with Dr. Altman,” according to Shomo. “Dr. Altman is an orthopedic surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital who specializes in spine and neck trauma. During my time with him, I experienced both surgical and office perspectives of his practice. I was able to be in surgery with Dr. Altman and also sat in on patient consultations. The EL Term helped me affirm that I want to pursue a career in medicine and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program.”

Other student feedback echoes Shomo’s response and affirms the quality of experiences provided. Abbey Turner ’16, a biology major and English minor, shadowed Dr. James Macielak, Allegheny Class of 1976.

“The relationship formed from office to operating room and back was an interesting one to observe,” said Turner. “Dr. Macielak’s ability to speak to his patients in a compassionate manner combined with his dedication to adequate preparation for each case will always stay with me. As I look forward with hope to my future as a physician, I plan to implement the lessons learned from Dr. Macielak in his relationships with his staff and patients.”

Alyssa Nelson ’17, a biology major and psychology minor, shadowed five veterinarians at Greener Pastures Veterinary Service.

“The Health Care EL Shadowing Program has provided me with much more than just hours on a resume,” said Nelson. “I learned a tremendous amount about the veterinary field in a short period of time, and the experience went even deeper than that. The veterinarians supplied me with plentiful advice about preparing for my future and how to present myself in a professional setting. I am truly grateful to both Greener Pastures and the EL Shadowing Program for allowing me this opportunity to gain valuable pre-professional experience.”

Students interested in careers in the health professions and in this and other experiential learning opportunities may contact Director of Pre-Professional Studies Kirsten Peterson at kpeterso@allegheny.edu.

Photo: Allegheny College student Zachery Shomo ’18 was among the group of students participating in the 2015 Experiential Learning Health Care Shadowing Experience Program organized by Director of Pre-Professional Studies Kirsten Peterson ’78 in collaboration with the Office of Career Education.