Skip to main content

Center for Career Development

Doctor of Medicine students

The Center for Career Development supports Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs’ goals and values by fostering student’s academic, professional and personal growth. Grounded in the American Medical Association Group on Student Affairs’ best practices and developmental framework, the Center for Career Development provides students with resources and a supportive learning community through career coaching and mentoring to promote their professional identity formation.
 
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s career curriculum is embedded within the professional identity formation competency content and embodies our mission and values. It relies on current career development theories and models to assist students in their professional identity formation, using the “Careers in Medicine” (CiM) model to support all phases of the career decision-making process for students.
 
The Center for Career Development ensures that students have the knowledge, support and resources necessary to make informed decisions using a career coaching model. Julia A. Kolcharno, MA, and Linda Learn, MSW, MBA, serve as career coaches and provide executive professional coaching to assist students in academic/professional/career self-reflection, goal setting and life-long learning.
 
The combination of centrally provided content and individual processing opportunities allows for multiple touch points with students throughout their medical careers. The Center for Career Development utilizes the following critical benchmarks to support students in their career planning process:
  • Assists students in understanding the important steps necessary toward their journey of self-authorship and engagement in continual self-assessment and reflection to identify their skills, abilities and interests in the selection of a medical specialty. 
  • Supports students in the development of a self-directed career and resource identification plan using national and institutional data to make informed and proactive decisions critical to achieving their professional and career goals.
  • Provides resources to effectively coach students in the enhancement of their interpersonal communication skills through the development of a competitive curriculum vitae, personal statement and participation in mock interviews.

Learning communities

The Office of Student Affairs (OSA), through the Center for Career Development (CCD), has established a learning community model to support student personal and professional growth with a longitudinal connection to a community of learning at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. This model aims to support learners through a developmental and proactive approach to maximize their individual and collective potential by providing differential assistance and a community of faculty, interprofessional staff and peers to engage students in their personal and professional development.
 
First-year students will be equally distributed and assigned a learning community prior to orientation. Learning community membership may be reassigned prior to the third-year curriculum. 
 
Each learning community will have a learning community team leader as well as professional support from a regional associate dean, regional assistant dean, regional education specialist, resident mentor and a member of the Center for Career Development and the Center for Learning Excellence. In addition, all rising third-year students will be assigned an individual student regional contact.
 
Learning community outcomes:
  • Students will engage in four interactive learning community team activities/touchpoints through the year.
  • Students will participate in a virtual communication platform to promote and encourage interactions in real time with their peers, regional campus team and their learning community.
  • Students will engage in a positive learning environment that supports the formal and hidden curriculum.

Mentoring

Given the significant impact mentoring can have on student success and the intention of creating shared experiences, the Center for Career Development is committed to providing physician mentors and role models for students to engage in reflection in a longitudinal and meaningful way.
 
Christin Spatz, MD, FASN, serves as the director of clinical advising. She coordinates the Abigail Scholars Mentor and Specialty Mentor Program for students. Physician specialty mentors assist students in clarifying personal and professional development/goals related to their desired specialty. Mentors will also provide insight on patient profiles, workload, setting, administrative requirements, interprofessional teams, training and residency tracks, competitiveness, professional affiliations and lifestyle.
 
The Center for Career Development also works closely with program directors and faculty within each regional campus to provide residency planning and support for all students. 
 

Meet the Center for Career Development team