PULSE is a semester-long educational outreach program for high school students (grades 9-12) who are passionate about healthcare and biomedical sciences. It was established in 2008 and is run by a Penn State College of Medicine medical student interest group by the same name. The PULSE program 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. Medical students and participants in the 2021 cohort helped reconceptualize the meaning of the name PULSE to reflect the importance of, and commitment to increasing diversity in medicine; PULSE is now an acronym that stands for Pre-health program for Underrepresented Leaders in STEM Education, reflecting the institutional goal of reaching students who come from historically marginalized backgrounds.
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.)
- 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.
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PULSE 2024: Details coming soon!
Mondays, Sept. 9 through Dec. 9, 2024; exact time is under discussion, based on prior feedback – stay tuned!
- Virtual experience with in-person opportunity (Limited transportation assistance will be available from designated pick-up points around Harrisburg.)
- Mentoring from current medical students
- Informative medical school-style lectures, small group problem-based discussions, and exploration of our medical facilities
- Meets on scheduled Mondays, time TBD
- Lecture and discussion
- 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
To enable us to offer PULSE to as many students as possible, PULSE will continue to be offered virtually (over Zoom) with optional in-person sessions at Penn State College of Medicine. Space for the in-person sessions will be limited and offered first-come, first-serve basis via registration. More information on this will be provided when acceptance offers are extended. There may be limited transportation support from the greater Harrisburg areas for students who need it.
Attendance is important. In order to get the most from this program, students selected for PULSE will be expected to attend and participate in all weekly sessions. There will be no exceptions allowed for late arrivals or early dismissals for any reason other than illness or emergency.
- College of Medicine Lecture Room
GPS address FOR DROP-OFF/PICK-UP:
700 HMC Crescent Road
Hummelstown, PA 17033
(No. 14 on the Campus Map)
- Parking is available in the West View Parking Garage (No. 27 on the map). Use GPS address of 30 Conference Drive, Hummelstown, PA 17036, then park in the garage next to that building.
- Once parked, walk in front of 30 Conference Drive and toward the tan crescent shaped building; you will cross Campus Drive to get to this building. The first main entrance you will see is the College of Medicine entrance on your right. You will be greeted by PULSE volunteers for check-in and directions to the Lecture Room.
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.
The application deadline is May 1, 2024. The application will close and no applications will be accepted after this date.
You will be asked to prepare short essay responses to a few key questions in a Word document, which you will then upload when you submit your online application. Your responses will offer program leaders the opportunity to learn more about you and your career goals.
Pro tip: we don’t expect everyone to have a career in healthcare planned out or for you to be able to see the future, but we want to understand who you are and how PULSE can help you explore your science and career interests.
In order to submit you application:
You MUST share your completed essay responses in a .doc, .docx, or .pdf format with a filename using your first and last name (FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME).
To save a GOOGLE DOC as a .docx or .pdf file:
File -> Download -> select .doc, .docx, or .pdf – then save this to your desired location awaiting upload. Make sure your document uses your first and last name in the filename (examples: FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME.doc or FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME.docx or FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME.pdf).
Will PULSE be held in-person or virtually this year?
This year, PULSE is offering the program in a hybrid format. There will be several optional in-person sessions at Penn State College of Medicine. Space for these sessions will be limited, depending on amount of interest in attending. More information on this will be provided when acceptance offers are extended. There may be limited transportation support for students in the Harrisburg area.
How will my application be evaluated?
PULSE is a competitive program. Applications will be evaluated on your responses to the short essay questions. Identifying information from the application is removed and short essays are scored by reviewers on a scale of 1 to 10. Points are tallied for each student. If students are tied in score near the acceptance maximum, students who have never participated in PULSE and 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. There is a waitlist in the event that some accepted students choose not 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.
When is the deadline to apply to PULSE, and when will I find out if I was accepted?
The application deadline is May 1, 2024, no exceptions. Decisions on acceptance are made after thorough review of all applications and based on how many students we can accommodate within the small group, mentorship-focused structure of the program. Application decisions will be sent via email in late May 2024.
- Program Director: Sonnya Nieves, Office for Diversity, Equity & Belonging (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Board of Directors
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.