The Pre-Mentoring Program announced its Texas Tech Health Sciences Center undergraduate mentees and mentors at a ceremony Tuesday night, hosted at the Academic Classroom Building at HSC.

Currently in its fourth semester, the mentor program is a partnership between HSC and Tech’s Pre-Professional Health Careers advising, PPHC Director Greg Gellene said.

Select students in pre-medicine, pre-nursing, pre-occupational therapy, pre-pharmacy and pre-physical therapy work one-on-one with a first or second year medical student, Gellene said.

The pairs will meet monthly and attend various events, including going to medical classes and special seminars together, according to a handout.

“The goal is to connect TTU undergraduate students with pre-health career ambitions,” Gellene said, “with students in the corresponding health professional schools here across the street.”

Gellene said the mentors are two to three years academically ahead of the mentees, meaning the medical students can guide their younger counterparts and show them what medical school and their chosen field is really like.

Jeffery Sayers, a junior exercise and sport sciences major from Austin, said he currently wants to be a surgeon but knows this program, and medical school itself, may change his career goals.

Sayers decided to apply for the program for various reasons, including enhancing his resume and making new connections within HSC, he said.

“I wanted to get a better understanding of what medical school is like,” Sayers said. “It’s a huge transition from college to medical school, and the more I know about it, the less I’m going to be overwhelmed. I basically want to know what I’m getting myself into.”

Applicants sent in their transcripts and wrote a personal statement about how the mentor program would benefit them, Sayers said.

Gellene said the program looked for students who are already academically accomplished, with records compatible with obtaining admittance into a health professional school.

Additionally, Gellene said these students have completed approximately half of the prerequisites required to apply to these schools, and the students participate in other activities that show they are committed to a health career.

Akash Desai, a first year medical student from Austin and Sayers’s mentor, said he volunteered to be a mentor because he wishes he had a mentor when he applied for medical school.

“I just want to help somebody from Tech and hopefully help him get into med school,” Desai said. “They asked for volunteers, and it sounded like a cool opportunity. It’s a good experience for undergrads to get into med school since it’s super competitive.”

HSC oversees the selection of mentors, according to a handout. All mentees must enroll in the course, Seminar in Health Professions.

Anna Ahmed, a second year medical student from Houston, said she looks forward to getting to know her mentee and providing advice.

“I’ve been in that same position,” Ahmed said. “It would have been nice for someone to guide the way for me and grant me a real perspective of what medical school is like, so I just want to do that for my mentee.”

Gellene said next year, the program aims to add additional areas of specialization next fall for students, including a mentor-mentee program in clinical lab sciences.

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