Pre-Med Students Use Early Assurance
to Keep Active and Keep Helping
by Vincent Reda
For pre-med students, getting into medical school without having to study all junior year for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) can be a welcome release, easing the heavy workload of their two remaining undergraduate years.
Moderation was not a consideration, however, for Jessica Campbell and David Strosberg, the latest UAlbany students admitted to SUNY Upstate Medical University through its Early Assurance Program. Their admission notification in September only made it possible for them to re-fill their schedules with medical volunteer work, competitive athletics and even, in Strosberg's case, outside employment.
Although the University has no formal agreement with Upstate, sophomores who aspire to go there after graduation can apply to the Early Assurance Program. If accepted just before their junior years, they continue undergraduate work without the pressures associated with MCAT preparation. Of the hundreds who applied to Upstate for early admittance, Campbell and Strosberg were among about 60 interviewed and 20 to 25 ultimately chosen.
"Work" for these two students traverses campus borders and academic halls. Strosberg, a graduate of Albany High School, volunteers currently in Albany Medical Center's emergency room and has in the past (he seeks to again) as a research technician at Albany College of Pharmacy' Pharmaceutical Research Institute. He is also founder and president of the UAlbany Swim Club, and puts in five to 10 hours per week as a pharmacy technician at CVS.
Campbell, from Rutland, Vt., is a volunteer with the campus's Five Quad Ambulance Service, as well as in Albany Medical Center's Child Life Program. A true scholar-athlete, she is a three-year member of the women's NCAA Division I soccer team.
"I came in really knowing what I wanted to do," she said, "and, for someone with clear goals, early assurance is a great program." She added that, by not having to concentrate on the MCAT, she will become a certified emergency medical technician with Five Quad this spring. "I hope to take on a more active leadership role," she said.
"I do believe that through my outside volunteer work, the courses I've taken, plus being a student-athlete, I indicated to Upstate that I could balance a lot and still succeed. You certainly need time-management skills in medical school."
Strosberg concurred, saying that early assurance "allows me to continue my work off-campus and also focus on the swim program. In past years I was the coach. This semester, since I wasn't sure I'd be accepted early at Upstate, I stepped down, but now I've been working at organizing next year's schedule."
The two dynamos, ironically, did not cross paths too often over the years, but were freshmen biology lab partners. "David was the first person here that I told I wanted to become a doctor, and I think I was the first he told too," said Campbell.
Said Strosberg, "and then, the day after I found out about Upstate, I just happened to run into Jessica, and she said, 'David were you the other person to get into Upstate?' And we were."