New Program Provides Guidance for Gannon University Pre-Med Students

Posted: August 2, 2017

It's no secret that the pre-medical curriculum is one of the most rigorous and intensive of academic programs. Yet to succeed in medical school, a student needs skills that go beyond mere mastery of cellular biology or anatomy, as important as those can be.

Supplying those skills is the goal of the Gamma Guidance Program that matches medical students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) with pre-med students just starting their journey to a medical career.

Lydia Lukomski, a Gannon University sophomore from Portville, New York, is one.

Lukomski is a classic high-achiever. In high school she was a member of the National Honor Society, twice won first place at the Alfred State Science Fair and won a Rensselaer Medal for Proficiency in Math and Science. At Gannon, she received a prestigious Founders scholarship, is a member of the Honors program and is an outside hitter on the women's volleyball team that won a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship last season.

Still, even students as accomplished as Lukomski can benefit from mentorship, according to Karla Mashburn, director of Gannon University's pre-health advising program. "Preparing your application to medical school can be a demanding yet rewarding process," she said. "Only someone who has gone through it knows about the special challenges students might encounter, and that's why Gannon pre-med students are so fortunate to have mentors like those from LECOM."

Lukomski's mentor is Samantha Storti, a LECOM student from Portersville, Pennsylvania. A high-achiever herself, Storti is president of the Gamma chapter of Sigma Sigma Phi, a national honorary osteopathic service fraternity. According to Storti, the Gamma Guidance program arose as an additional service initiative for the chapter.

"I went to Penn State-Behrend, and I knew how hard it was to get help and advice you can rely on," Storti said. "You can talk to people, like faculty advisers, but they haven't been to med school and haven't gone through the process of applying."

The Gamma chapter's ultimate goal is to expand the program beyond Gannon University and Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. "Pre-med students are so busy. Getting people interested and getting the word out was a challenge, but in the fall, we'd like to advertise the program better and do more programming. We hope to expand it in the next few years, so we can help students in the crazy medical-school application process."