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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 course taught at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. 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 course will be held again in fall 2021, and this year’s theme will be “Infectious Disease: A Problem of the Past, Present, and Future.” PULSE will also continue its professional development and mentorship program. The program is currently not able to offer the course for credit or offer transportation.

Any student interested in science/medicine in ninth to 12th grades can apply to PULSE.


  • To supplement student science education with a quality, 12-longitudinal medical 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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General information

About the Course Expand answer

The topic for PULSE 2021 is infectious disease. Subjects and activities the group expects to explore this year include:

  • Lecture and project-based learning topics:
    • Pathogens and their transmission
    • Human immunity and immunodeficiency
    • Pandemics and public health
  • Potential in-person field trips (pending COVID-19 regulations)
  • Health professions career panel
  • College and career preparation assistance
    • College selection, SAT/ACT and essay tips, science major information
  • Course structure:
    • Lecture
    • Problem-based learning sessions
    • Longitudinal mentorship sessions
  • Location:
    • Lecture Room B
      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
  • Note: Due to the foreseeable COVID-19 restrictions, we plan to continue with an online, interactive curriculum. We hope to incorporate some optional in-person events, during which the most current CDC guidelines will be followed. The in-person events will be confirmed at a later date, and we will keep everyone updated!
Application Information Expand answer

The PULSE application is generally open from early March through mid-April, with participant selection being finalized in mid-May.

Leadership Expand answer


Board of Directors

Direction to LR-B Expand answer
  1. Park in Centerview Parking Lot on floors 3, 4, or 5.
  2. Walk toward the Main Hospital entrance. Enter through this entrance.
  3. Walk straight, past the Starbucks and the Student Store, to the Nittany Lion.
  4. At the lion, turn right towards North entrance.
  5. Use the elevators at the North wing to go to the fourth floor.
  6. Turn right and walk through the big double doors.
  7. Turn right once you pass the bathrooms, and LR-B will be on your right.

The campus map may be helpful.

Schedule Expand answer

PULSE 2021 will be live via Zoom on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m., Sept. 13 through Dec. 13, 2021. There will be no class on Columbus Day (Oct. 11) or the Monday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 22).