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Time flies between donning white coats as Emmanuel College first-year students to wearing them as full-time health professionals. For nine recent graduates, the journey into the health field continued this past fall with matriculation into their desired medical or dental programs.

The 90-percent acceptance rate for this cohort of aspiring health professionals from the College is a testament to their support and preparation.

Their collective success comes from many sources within an innovative liberal arts and science experience, but one common thread across the cohort is the involvement of Emmanuel’s Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) – a unique committee of Emmanuel faculty that guides the College’s aspiring health professionals through the complex medical, dental and veterinary schools’ application processes.

“It’s somewhat of an under-the-radar, hardworking group that wants students to win,” said Dean of the School of Science & Health, Pádraig Deighan. The committee helps students to market themselves, highlight their unique strengths and reveal their genuine passion for these careers, setting themselves apart within the highly competitive application process. Dr. Deighan, who also serves as co-chair of the HPAC, said that for the students, “our committee is functioning as psychologists, advocates and cheerleaders. We get to know our students and we believe in them – that is the Emmanuel way.”

Sam Tierney ’20 is in the preclinical portion of his education at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University – and he said support from Emmanuel’s School of Science & Health faculty was instrumental in getting him to this point.

“The guidance of Dr. Deighan and the HPAC was invaluable – I simply can’t thank the Emmanuel faculty enough for the caliber of education I received there, as well as the personal guidance they offer. That is not as common at a lot of larger institutions,” said Tierney.

The HPAC is comprised of a diverse group of staff with a variety of specializations. Alongside Co-chairs Dr. Deighan and Director of the Academic Resource Center Krista Aslanian, members include Senior Academic Advisor Susan Aguiar, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Elizabeth Crofton, Associate Professor of Biology Anu Seshan, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michelle Watt. 

“We’re all about our students and graduates – we support them in finding their path within healthcare, where they will ultimately make a profound impact. Our gratification is our students’ success."

Dr. Pádraig Deighan, Dean of the School of Science & Health and co-chair of the HPAC

That feeling of admiration is mutual, as Aslanian pointed out: “students consistently express appreciation and gratitude for the support offered by our committee. A member of the 2022 cohort, now in their first year of medical school, reached out to express thanks and emphasized the importance of the detailed HPAC supporting letter during their interviews, affirming its value in the application journey.”

Pietra Oelke ’21 attributed much of her current success to that support she received throughout the medical school application process. After spending the last seven months at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, she said she’s really recognized the value of a liberal arts education for those who are pursuing medicine.

“Emmanuel’s strong STEM program equipped me with foundational knowledge that I use and build upon daily. Delving into courses outside of my biology major, like philosophy, exposed me to different perspectives that have been invaluable as I learn to care for others.”

Don’t just take their word for it: these nine alumni success stories and so many more are well underway. Some are still nearby in Boston, while others are as far as Phoenix, Arizona, practicing dental care, osteopathic medicine and beyond.