Allegheny’s Kirsten Peterson Receives Award for Pre-Professional Studies Guidance

Kirsten Peterson, a 1978 Allegheny College graduate and a member of the Gateway Pre-Professional Studies staff, received the Buck Hill ’68 Award from the Northeast Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NEAAHP) during its June 2020 annual meeting, which was held online.

Kirsten Peterson, Allegheny's director of Pre-Professional Advising.
Kirsten Peterson, Allegheny’s director of Pre-Professional Advising.

Peterson was honored for her outstanding service to NEAAHP and the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), demonstrating several key qualities that have earned the respect of her peers. The award recognizes a NEAAHP member of at least 10 years who has volunteered significant effort on behalf of NEAAHP. Peterson served on the NEAAHP Executive Committee from 2006 to 2019 as a member at large, one term as president, and two terms as secretary.

NEAAHP is one of four regional subsets of NAAHP, the national organization for health professions advisors. Its main purpose is to help college and university advisors do their jobs and to support those advisors in times of change. Help comes in several forms, including workshops, conferences, a website and mentorship.

“NEAAHP has certainly helped me as an advisor,” said Peterson. “It is a recognition of the work I have done for the organization as a board member, president, secretary, committee member, worker bee at meetings and panel moderator. Any recognition of my work is good for the College. Another aspect is the modeling of behavior I hope our students will follow. By engaging in service I am modeling the behavior I hope that students will adopt.”

Peterson said she is a member of the regional and national organizations “because it is the best way to know what is going on in the medical admissions world. It was incredibly helpful as I started this job, it helps me stay current with pre-health issues, and it now allows me to serve as a mentor to other advisors.”

Peterson’s primary job at Allegheny is advising pre-health students. “That is unusual for a college of our size, but it means that I can provide workshops and meet with students as often as they need. It means I can stay up to date in the field, so I can help them prepare, with such programs as the MCAT boot camp,” Peterson said. “It means that I have the time to arrange shadowing opportunities both locally and within our alumni network. I arrange the annual Lehman Medical Ethics Lecture and assist with the health-coaching program. When it comes to writing the school’s letter of recommendation for graduate school, I know them well. Allegheny is generous in these respects, giving me the time to manage a robust program.”