Pre-medical Mentoring and Advising Program (PMAP)
Today, PMAP boasts 218 GCSOM mentors and 272 pre-medical mentees
As a first-year medical student, Alyssa Muchisky, a member of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s MD Class of 2021, was surprised to learn her classmates had such a wide range of pre-medical experiences. As undergraduates, some had access to plenty of support and mentoring, while others more or less had to find their own way through a years-long process to build the right resume and gain the skills necessary to successfully land a seat in medical school.
Alyssa’s own experience at the University of Scranton demonstrated that excellent pre-medical advising can make a daunting process at least manageable. Knowing others missed out on such support inspired her to found a new club at GCSOM, the Pre-medical Mentoring and Advising Program (PMAP). Her classmates Connor Magura, Jeremy Tokash and Brian Entler helped to found the club and served on its inaugural board.
Because Alyssa has moved onto her busy third year, PMAP is now in the hands of second-year students Zoë Landau, president and Andrea Nale, vice president, who have built upon Alyssa’s initial plans.
“I was drawn to PMAP because I know there are gaps between the pre-med advising undergraduates get and the real world,” Zoë said. Andrea agreed, noting, “When I wanted to switch majors, I didn’t have anyone to guide me. Sometimes, you just feel alone.”
GCSOM students always respond enthusiastically to PMAP’s call for mentors. Acknowledging that both mentor and mentee have packed schedules, Zoë said the demands of mentorship are intentionally kept light. “We ask our medical student mentors to reach out to their undergrad at least once a month and meet in person once a semester,” Zoë said.
Andrea said mentees have a range of questions for their mentors. “Sometimes they need advice on the timeline – when to finalize their essays, complete forms and get clearances. Often times, they want to hear what the interview process is like.” Interviews and applications come up so frequently, PMAP student leaders have developed two workshops where an entire Saturday is devoted to each topic.
“During the interview workshop, we hold mock interviews, including growing use of the multiple mini interview (MMI),” Zoë said. “We even have our mentees work with standardized patients.” The application workshop covers the components of the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) common application, as well as the timeline for applying. “We also talk about secondary applications and costs,” said Andrea.
For club leaders, the most exciting thing about the program is seeing former mentees as current classmates at GCSOM – there are seven. Ten program “grads” have matriculated at other medical schools.
Today, PMAP boasts 218 GCSOM mentors and 272 pre-medical mentees from the Juniata College, University of Scranton, Marywood University, Misericordia University, Wilkes and Temple. The club was recognized by GCSOM students as “organization of the year” for the 2018-2019 academic year, based upon student votes.