September 13, 2017 3:00PM
That’s the situation facing most first-year college students, and a question Pittsburg State University Biology Professor Virginia Rider is helping first-year students answer.
“Each week we invite a practicing health-care professional to speak with students in our Biology-101 course,” said Rider. “In essence, we turn the classroom over to them. It’s a dynamic and engaging session. You see our students’ faces light up as they learn of a career path they never before knew existed.”
According to a recent report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the demand for physicians will exceed supply by as many as 105,000 by the year 2030. These types of numbers make it even more important to let students understand the variety of healthcare careers available to them.
“As our population ages the need will only grow,” said Biology Chair Dixie Smith. “It’s important we help our students understand their career options as early as possible.”
Nearly every lecturer is a graduate of PSU, including the most recent speaker, Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center, and of the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute.
During his lecture, Jensen spoke of his time as an undergrad and affirmed that students had made a great choice in Pittsburg State.
“As you embark upon your career in biomedical science,” said Jensen. “Know that you have chosen wisely. The faculty at Pittsburg State are here because they love teaching. Their highest priority is you.”
The majority of Jensen’s lecture was filled with questions from students about career choices, what lies ahead for them in medical school, and how to find that first job.
Jensen answered questions for more than 40 minutes including an insightful query about overcoming the fear of failure.
“If you go far enough,” said Jensen. “You’re not going to be the smartest kid in class. It’s okay. You just need to make sure you are learning how to learn. Most of the successful people I know, love to learn. They’re addicted to it. It is a privilege to be in a position where you are able to use your mind to earn your living. Relish every moment of it.”
Smith said courses like this are what make Pittsburg State’s biology program so successful.
“This course is one of the strengths of our program,” said Smith. “We invite family-practice physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists and many others to speak with our students. It’s a wonderful way to introduce them (students) to the variety of healthcare professions. We want our students to find their passion in the field of healthcare.”
Learn more about Pittsburg State’s Department of Biology by visiting: http://www.pittstate.edu/department/biology/