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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.

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General information

About the Program Expand answer

PULSE 2023: Digestion & Nutrition: Exploring the Journey of Food

Thumbnail link to larger flyer about PULSE program for 2023; detail provided below.Mondays, 4 to 6 p.m., from Sept. 11 through Dec. 11, 2023

What you will learn

  • How different parts of our digestive system help us to process food
  • Information about disorders of the digestive system
  • How nutrition impacts our health

Program Details

  • Virtual Experience with in-person opportunity Limited transportation will be available from designated pick-up points in Harrisburg and Lebanon
  • Mentoring from current medical students
  • Read and discuss research articles
  • Participate in lectures, small group problem-based discussions, and explore our medical facilities

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

This year, PULSE will be virtual (over zoom) with several optional in-person sessions at the Penn State College of Medicine. Space for these sessions will be limited, depending on interest. More information on this will be provided when acceptance offers are extended. These in-person sessions will include opportunities to tour and experience our medical school and facilities. There may be limited transportation support from Lebanon and Harrisburg areas for students who need it. Students who are unable, or choose not to attend in-person sessions will be offered a comparable virtual session.

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. We will not make exceptions for varsity athletes, as sessions are not recorded and absences detract from the overall experience in PULSE. Please consider any standing commitment you have already made on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. before submitting an application.

Location

  • 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.
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.

The application deadline is May 1, 2023. The application will close and no applications will be accepted after this date.

ESSAYS

Please prepare your short essay responses to the following questions in a Word document, then save that document prior to proceeding. We will ask you to upload this document to complete your online application.

Tell us about yourself (150-word maximum): Write a brief autobiography. As completely and precisely as possible, give a picture of yourself, your upbringing, and events you consider important to you. In doing so, identify the values that are of greatest importance to you.

Future goals (150-word maximum): Please tell us what about science, healthcare, medicine, or the PULSE program appeals to you. How do you imagine your interest in one or more of these areas might impact your future?

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.

Challenging situation (300 words maximum): Please discuss a challenging situation or obstacle, outside of academics, you have faced in the past and how you handled it. Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently? Describe what you learned from the experience.

IN ORDER TO SUBMIT YOUR 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).

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Frequently Asked Questions Expand answer

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 the 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 Lebanon and Harrisburg areas. Participants who are unable to attend, or choose not to participate in the in-person sessions due to distance or other reasons, will be offered a comparable virtual session. The in-person sessions will include opportunities to tour and experience our medical school and facilities.

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, 2023, NO EXCEPTIONS. Application decisions will be sent via email in late May 2023, after a thorough review of all application essays.

Leadership Expand answer

Leadership

Board of Directors

Schedule Expand answer

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.