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Physician Scientist Student Association provides highlights from fall 2019

Penn State College of Medicine’s Physician Scientist Student Association shared several highlights from its fall 2019 activities.

Marty Johnson, the group’s president, remarked about what a busy summer it was for students in the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program, with fourth-year medical students starting to interview for residencies, first-year medical students now already in their second immunology and microbiology block of classes and many graduate students publishing papers and preparing for clerkships.

A particular highlight this season was the 2019 Fall Retreat. Students and faculty were particularly pleased with this retreat, and the PSSA gives special thanks to Maryknoll Palisoc (first-year graduate student), the retreat chair, and the entire retreat committee, as well as Alison Smolinski, MSTP program administrator.

The retreat began with a fun “Jeopardy” game hosted by Rahul Nachnani (second-year medical student). Following this “vertical integration” activity, there was a professional development workshop with Jessica Kirkwood, Director of Career Services for the College of Medicine. During this workshop, students learned the art of networking, shaking hands and getting the most out of academic conferences. Finally, a diverse panel of Penn State residency directors shared their wisdom on their particular residency training tracks, and tips for the application process. PSSA especially wishes to thank Dr. Ronald Panganiban for facilitating the discussion. The next retreat is in January.

PSSA also noted several students’ achievements:

  • Andrea Schneider and Carson Willis (both fourth-year graduate students) received the Carl H. Beyer Jr., MD/PhD, Scholarship.
  • Kristen Lambert (third-year medical student) received the Alumni Society Award.
  • Eric Yau (third-year graduate student) received the Richard J. Courtney Graduate Student Award.
  • Scott Tucker (third-year medical student) participated in the 2019 Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference Tech Tournament.
  • Maryknoll Palisoc (first-year graduate student) was awarded a TL1 fellowship through Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

In other personal and professional news from PSSA students:

  • Greg Brown (second-year graduate student) danced at Penn State’s THON with the Rup family.
  • Eric Yau (third-year graduate student) went to the Experimental Biology conference in Orlando, Fla.
  • Andrea Schneider (fourth-year graduate student) got married.
  • Derek Nye (sixth-year graduate student) went to an EMBO conference in Israel and a Life Sciences Symposium at State College, where he won best poster award. He also co-organized the annual MCIBS and Pathobiology graduate program retreat in State College.
  • Marty Johnson (third-year graduate student) went to the Organellar Channel and Transporters GRC conference in Vermont and Calcium Signaling conference in Fes, Morocco.
  • Ernie Wang (third-year graduate student) is training for a 5K with Marty Johnson.

PSSA will have its next meeting Dec. 12, 2019, after the lunch seminar. The group will discuss the upcoming retreat and other student concerns from the last meeting. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact Marty Johnson.

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