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Helping Students Prepare for the Future

Winter 2013 | Article by Kirby Messinger

James Cronin, First Levy ProfessorA career in the health sciences can be exciting and fulfilling, especially for students interested in the sciences. But often students have limited knowledge of the wide array of potential careers available. Ed ('78) and Jami Levy recognized the benefits of helping students gain real-world experience while giving back to the community. With their help, the School of Science and Engineering is expanding and solidifying the service-learning opportunities available to students, with a particular emphasis on integrating community engagement, their scientific coursework and discoveries, and possible career paths. The first Levy Professor for Integrated Discover and Community Engagement is James Cronin, who will hold an internship seminar class to help neuroscience and cell and molecular biology majors navigate potential careers in the health sciences.

Often when these students think about their career options post graduation, their first thought is medical school. The course instructors, James Cronin and Kelsey Ward, want to help students realize that there are a multitude of career options that will utilize their skills and knowledge and also be fulfilling.

“We want to get students thinking about their future careers. There are so many interesting and exciting careers out there and many of them don’t require a medical degree,” says Ward.

Students in Ward and Cronin’s class apply for internships throughout the city and meet once a week to discuss their experiences. Internships can vary from traditional medical internships at local hospitals to fundraising work at Make-a-Wish Foundation. These experiences allow students to learn more about different career paths while also having a rewarding experience in the community.

Neuroscience major Emilie Grodman completed her internship at Healthcare for the Homeless in their dental clinic. Interested in becoming a dentist in the future, Grodman says the internship experience further validated that desire and also gave her a more realistic view of her future career.

“I never fully understood the adjustments that health professionals have to make based on external factors like insurance coverage, out-of-pocket cost, patient compliance and many others that go beyond the diagnosable 'problem',” says Grodman.

During the seminar class, speakers from various sectors of the health sciences talk with students about their experiences. Ward also discusses current events in the world of medicine such as the Affordable Care Act. These experiences and discussions help students further prepare for their future.

“The various speakers that came in to discuss their careers were often eye opening and inspiring. This allowed me to contemplate the reasons why dentistry is the right choice for me in a much more educated way,” says Grodman.

Fulfilling experiences like the one Emilie had are possible because of the generosity of the Levy family. The Levys wanted to support the School of Science and Engineering in a way that would directly impact students and their experience at Tulane. Supporting the Levy Professorship and the service-learning internship class allowed them to truly make a difference on the student experience.

“Tulane has always been an innovative institution, providing its students every opportunity to grow through a variety of experiences and challenges. We have great admiration for the University in their role in helping the city pull together after Katrina. It was our hope that we could play even a small role in supporting the University, the students and the community,” says Ed Levy.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu