On Saturday, Emily Kummerer, MBS '20, and Seth Ellison, MBS '20, will be among the 115 new students to receive a Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) white coat.
For the couple, who will wed in 2022 and are both Abigail Geisinger Scholars, it will be the first step toward their medical careers. For Seth, it will also be a Geisinger family homecoming.
Sitting in the audience at the Aug. 7 ceremony will be a number of Seth’s family members. His father, Neil Ellison, MD, is a retired medical oncologist who founded the system’s palliative care program. His stepmother is DiAnne Leonard, MD, a trauma surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center and his brothers Ross Ellison, MD and Todd Ellison, PA, and sisters-in-law Halle Ellison, MD, and Cassie Ellison, MD, all work at Geisinger. Additionally, his mother, Marcia Ellison, served the Danville community as a special education teacher.
Seth’s friends and family were stunned when he informed them that he was going to pursue medicine. He had built a dynamic, successful career as a business executive and has an MBA from Duke University. Yet, medicine had always been Seth’s childhood dream. “I had gotten to the point where I felt it was time for me to own a company. I was working hard, coming home late and analyzing acquisition targets. Yet, every night I’d find my computer screen filled with tabs discussing the experiences of nontraditional medical students. After about four weeks spent researching the life of a non-trad instead of evaluating potential business opportunities, I knew it was time to finally attempt a career in medicine. I began to work towards getting into GCSOM’s Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) program, was thankfully accepted and that’s where I met Emily.”
When Emily joins the Ellison family, they will not be her only connection to Danville area. Although she grew up in Florida, her mom is from Lewisburg, and she has extended family in the region. Emily drew her inspiration to become a doctor from both her own experiences as a pediatric patient and her mother’s nursing career.
“When I was in fourth grade I received a life-altering diagnosis,” she said, noting that despite the frightening news, “I was a happy kid, just one who had an MRI every few weeks.” Frequent interactions with caring physicians during her childhood sparked Emily’s interest in a medical career. When Emily received a clean bill of health during senior year of high school her dream of becoming a doctor felt more tangible than ever.
Emily’s parents, Todd and Lynette Kummerer, demonstrated the importance of serving one’s community: They have served as a foster family for 54 kids. Emily’s determination to not only practice medicine but to treat children sprang from her experiences as a foster sister. “We began fostering when I was in middle school. It was a family endeavor for us with my sister, Rachel, and me helping to care for the kids,” she said. The Kummerers were able to complete their family by adopting two of their foster children. “I can’t imagine life without my little brother and sister.”
Emily has decided to pursue medicine-pediatrics as an Abigail Geisinger Scholar. Seth is currently undecided, but he knows his father’s approach to medicine and manner of interacting with and relating to patients inspires the kind of physician he wants to be. Both know their future is at Geisinger. “When Emily and I began discussing our future together and our careers, we knew practicing in Danville and raising a family there was our goal. GCSOM and the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program was an easy choice for us,” Seth said.