Skip to content

PULSE

Established in 2008, PULSE (Pre-health program for Underrepresented Leaders in STEM Education) is Penn State College of Medicine’s educational outreach program for high school students passionate about the biomedical sciences. PULSE, operated as a medical student interest group, is a semester-long (12-week) academic program offered at Penn State College of Medicine. PULSE aims to cultivate interest in medicine, biomedical science and health care systems science by introducing passionate learners to medical students, biomedical researchers and practicing clinicians.

The PULSE program features a different topic in medicine each year. However, there are consistent components of the program, such as lecture, professional development and mentorship. The program is not eligible for high school or college credit at this time. High school students may have the opportunity to earn extra credit at the discretion of their school staff.

Any student interested in science/medicine who will be in grades 9-12 at the start of the program can apply to PULSE. (Current 8th-grade students are able to apply because they will be in high school by the start of the program; current seniors in high school cannot apply because they will have graduated by the start of the program.)

Mission

  • To supplement student science education with a quality, 12-week longitudinal curriculum
  • To foster the interests of high school students from surrounding communities through interactive lectures, problem-based learning sessions and clinical shadowing opportunities.
  • To enrich high school students’ current approaches in acquiring knowledge in scientific endeavors.
  • To enhance critical thinking skills and foster independence.
  • To provide important information for educational options and career paths in health care.
  • To empower Penn State students to act as mentors and educational leaders.
  • To encourage active participation of underrepresented groups in medicine by providing mentors and instructors with whom they can identify.

College of Medicine students

PULSE remains active throughout the year and encourages involvement of medical, PA, nursing and graduate students. Students who would like to learn more about the organization or get involved, should contact any of the officers listed below.

Jump to topic

Search

General information

About the Program Expand answer

Course structure:

  • Meets on scheduled Mondays, 4 to 6 p.m.
    • Lecture
    • Problem-based learning session
    • Longitudinal mentorship session

Typical activities include:

  • Small group learning opportunities
  • Health professions career panel
  • Discussions about college and career preparation:
    • College selection process, SAT/ACT and essay tips, science major information

Location:

  • College of Medicine Lecture Room
    GPS address:
    700 HMC Crescent Road
    Hershey, PA 17033
    (No. 14 on the Campus Map)
  • Parking is available in the Centerview Parking Garage (No. 7 on the map) and Westview Parking Garage (No. 27 on the map)
  • Once in the main building (see “Directions to Lecture Room” below), watch for signs and PULSE representatives to assist with directions.
Application Expand answer

Application Evaluation

PULSE is a competitive program. Applications will be evaluated on responses to the short essay questions. Details from the application are removed and short essays are scored by reviewers on a scale of 1 to 10. Points are tallied for each student and the slots are filled from highest scoring applications. In the event of a tie for the final remaining slots, students who have never participated in PULSE and/or are entering their final two years of high school will be prioritized over applicants who have previously participated in PULSE or are entering their first two years of high school. This will help ensure equity of access. Students who have comparable scores will be placed on a waitlist and may be offered a spot in the event that some accepted students are unable to participate in the program. To allow as many students as possible to participate, students who have participated in two prior PULSE cycles are not eligible for participation.

Application Instructions

Step 1

Please prepare your short essay responses to the following questions in a Word document or Google doc. You will be asked to upload this document as part of Step Two, the online application (outlined later in this document). The application deadline is April 20, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. The application will close and no applications will be accepted after this date – no exceptions.

Copy and paste the following information into a Word document or Google doc:


PULSE Applicant Name:

1. Explain how interactions with people who are different from yourself have shaped your worldview and relate how you would enrich the PULSE community. (300 word limit)

2. Describe your thoughts on the importance of lifelong learning and education to your future career plans. (150 word limit)

  • Pro tip: we don’t expect every applicant to have a detailed plan for their future career, but we want to understand who you are and how PULSE can help you explore science and your career interests.

3. If you were stuck on a deserted island with two other people, what would be your role in helping the group survive? What challenges do you think you would face in this group setting? (150 word limit)


Save this document in .doc or .docx format using your name in the filename:
FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME

To save a Google Doc as a .doc or .docx file, follow these clicks:
File / Download / select .doc or .docx, then save to desired location awaiting upload. Make sure the filename uses your FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME.

Step 2

Once you have completed your responses to the questions noted above and saved the document as a .doc or .docx using your FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME in the filename, click the button below to complete the online application and upload your essay responses.

PULSE Online Application

Note: Please save your essay responses and the conformation email you receive upon submission.

Frequently Asked Questions Expand answer

What is the application deadline?
The application deadline is April 20, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. The application will close and no applications will be accepted after this date, no exceptions.

How do I save my essay responses for upload?
To save a Google Doc as a .docx or .pdf file, follow these clicks: File / Download / select .docx or .pdf – then save to desired location.

How will my application be evaluated?
PULSE is a competitive program. Applications will be evaluated on responses to the short essay questions. Details from the application are removed and short essays are scored by reviewers on a scale of 1 to 10. Points are tallied for each student and the slots are filled from highest scoring applications. In the event of a tie for the final remaining slots, students who have never participated in PULSE and/or are entering their final two years of high school will be prioritized over applicants who have previously participated in PULSE or are entering their first two years of high school. This will help ensure equity of access. Students who have comparable scores will be placed on a waitlist and may be offered a spot in the event that some accepted students are unable to participate in the program. To allow as many students as possible to participate, students who have participated in two prior PULSE cycles are not eligible for participation.

Will PULSE be held in-person or virtually this year?
This year, PULSE is offering the program both in-person and virtually. You will be asked to choose whether you are applying for the in-person or virtual program, based on individual preference and/or circumstance. Applicants cannot be considered for both in-person and virtual. We plan to accept a maximum of 110 students this year and anticipate that the majority will be in-person (subject to change in accordance with the latest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions). In-person sessions will be held at Penn State College of Medicine, 700 HMC Crescent Road, Hershey, PA 17033. The virtual option will be held over Zoom. Each class, whether in-person or virtual, will be structured with a lecture, followed by a small-group active learning session and a small-group mentoring session.

Once the application is submitted, students will not be permitted to switch between in-person and virtual (i.e., a student accepted for in-person sessions cannot attend virtually at will). A choice of in-person commits a student to being present at 700 HMC Crescent Road, Hershey, PA 17033 every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. A choice of virtual commits a student to being in the Zoom meeting every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. In-person students will be expected to follow all CDC, Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine requirements for in-person activities while on campus, including being fully vaccinated, wearing a surgical loop mask at all times while indoors and socially distancing. If accepted, you agree to notify the PULSE team of any COVID-19 symptoms and will not attend if ill.

Do I need the COVID vaccine in order to participate in PULSE?
If you apply for the in-person program and are accepted, you will need to be fully vaccinated (at least two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine), or provide a copy of a negative COVID test result taken within 48 hours of the session. Your parent/guardian will also need to sign an acknowledgment form.

You do not need to be vaccinated to participate in the virtual program, if accepted.

Is transportation provided for students accepted to the in-person format?
Transportation to and from in-person PULSE sessions is generally the responsibility of the student and their family. Limited transportation support may be available from pick-up points in Harrisburg and Lebanon.

By applying to the in-person program, students confirm that they either have access to reliable transportation in order to arrive at Penn State College of Medicine by 4 p.m. every Monday, or live in Harrisburg or Lebanon and indicated a need for transportation support on the PULSE application. Students requesting transportation support would be picked up by a contracted bus company at predetermined locations, at/near 3:15 p.m. every Monday, and dropped off at the same location at/near 6:30 p.m. – more information will be provided upon acceptance to those who request this support.

Students who reside outside of Central Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply to the virtual program.

What if I play a fall sport or have other schedule conflicts?
PULSE meets on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m., and selected participants will be expected to attend and participate in all weekly sessions. No exceptions will be made for consistent late arrivals or early departures due to sports schedules or other commitments. Absences will be excused in cases of illness, emergency, and other unique circumstances.

For the purpose of consistency in the virtual program, participants who are accepted for the in-person program will not be permitted to attend the virtual program when circumstances arise.

Leadership Expand answer

Leadership

Board of Directors

Directions to Lecture Room Expand answer
  • GPS address:
    700 HMC Crescent Road
    Hershey, PA 17033
    (No. 14 on the Campus Map)
    Enter from the College Entrance, take the elevator to the fourth floor
  • Parking is available in the Centerview Parking Garage (No. 7 on the map) and Westview Parking Garage (No. 27 on the map)
  • If parking at Centerview Parking Garage (on floors 3, 4 or 5):
    • Walk toward the hospital and enter through the Main Entrance.
    • Pass Starbucks on the left and continue straight down the hallway toward the Nittany Lion statue.
    • At the lion, turn right towards the North entrance.
    • Watch for signs and/or PULSE representatives at the North elevators for further direction to the lecture room.
  • If parking at Westview Garage, located beside the University Fitness & Conference Center:
    • Leave the garage and walk past the University Fitness & Conference Center toward the tan crescent shaped building, which is across the street.
    • Walk toward the front of the crescent shaped building and enter the doors marked College of Medicine.
    • Watch for signs and/or PULSE representatives at the elevators for further direction to the lecture room.

The campus map may be helpful.

Schedule Expand answer

Whether virtual or in-person, PULSE generally meets on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m., beginning the Monday after Labor Day and ending the second week in December. There is no class on Indigenous People’s Day (or noted as Columbus Day on many school calendars), or the Monday before Thanksgiving. Attendance and participation are important – participants should aim to be present for all sessions.