NEW! Pre-med at Kettering

Apr 30, 2008

Engineering and medicine may not seem related, but as medicine becomes increasingly technical, an engineering background might be just what the doctor orders. Kettering University now has a new Premedical Course of Study to bridge the disciplines.

Dr. Stacy Seeley, associate professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry, has been named as the pre-med coordinator for Kettering University’s Premedical Education Course of Study. Seeley’s appointment begins in the Spring 2008 term. She will be the primary contact for students interested in pursuing the Premedical Education Course of Study. In addition to advising students, she will also build and maintain relationships with medical school programs nationwide.

“I believe that officially establishing this course of study and providing the appropriate resources will allow us to build on our past strengths and capitalize on the opportunities ahead,” said Dr. Michael Harris, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Our pre-med program positions us to become the premier pre-med program in the region. We are building on our heritage and strengths,” he said.

Students who complete this course of study will receive a bachelor of science in their respective degree program along with a minor in Biochemistry, preparing them for medical school, a job in the growing bio-technical industry or graduate school.

“This program is directly related to President Liberty’s vision of the university as a university of Engineering, Science, Technology and Management with a significant role in the social and economic well-being of this region,” added Harris.

According to Seeley, the idea of a pre-med program at Kettering started with the students. “Many of them asked Dr. Atkinson and me what courses they needed to take as preparation for medical school and the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test),” she said.

“At the time, Kettering did not offer Biology, which is essential to pre-med preparation, and we didn’t have the proper lab space for Biology,” Seeley said, adding that “a lecture-only Biology course is not pre-med ready.”  Seeley and Dr. Patrick Atkinson, professor of Mechanical Engineering, helped students plan their courses while also encouraging the university to consider a pre-med program.

According to Seeley and Atkinson, more than 900 Kettering alumni have gone on to medical school and 350 have gone to dental school.

“Two things ultimately enabled us to offer a pre-med course of study; the creation of the Biochemistry Department and the donation of the Dane and Mary Louise Miller Life Sciences and Bio-Engineering Laboratory facilities,” said Seeley.

The $1.2 million laboratories, made possible by a donation from the Millers, are multi-use spaces that can be used in tandem or separately by converting to surgery simulation suites complete with surgical scrub sinks where students perform simulated surgery. Both laboratories, comprising approximately 3,400 square feet, can be used for lecture or lab, with additional features including a cold room, storage area and a prep room to support laboratory functions.

“The Dane Miller gift was key in the development of this course of study because of the quality of the labs,” agreed Harris. “I believe that our pre-med program is one of the best in the country and we have exceptional faculty to deliver it,” he added.

In the fall of 2007 Harris established a cross-functional Pre-Med Development Committee (PDC) headed by Tony Hain, associate provost for graduate Studies and Continuing Education, to study the suitability of developing and implementing a pre-med course of study at Kettering. The Board of Trustees approved the pre-med course of study at its March 13, 2008, meeting.

In addition to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, the cooperative education experience at Kettering is viewed as giving students a competitive advantage getting accepted to medical school.

“What makes the Kettering program different is that the co-op experience gives Kettering students an opportunity to learn both in the classroom and in the real world, which translates into an added value that enables them to get into medical school,” said Atkinson.

“As medicine becomes increasingly technical, having a strong foundation in science with an understanding of engineering will make the difference,” added Atkinson.

More information about the Kettering Premedical Course of Study.

Written by Dawn Hibbard