New Dean’s Scholars Program Offers Medical School Courses to YU Undergrads
With this year’s launch of the Einstein Enrichment Program, Yeshiva University is offering 10 select undergraduates the opportunity to take courses at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“The program will entail exposure to our top scientists, independent reading and highly interactive problem-based learning,” said Dr. Edward Burns, executive dean at Einstein and the program’s director. “It is designed to ignite a passion for biomedical science and medicine as it is practiced in the laboratory and clinic today, rather than from textbooks.”
Titled “Deans’ Scholars Program: Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences,” the credited cooperative academic program is being overseen by Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz dean at Stern College for Women, and Michal Jaff, the Beatrice Diener Presidential Follow. Fall lecture topics included Epochal Moments in Biology, Cells and Organelles, Genetic Material, Enzymes and Metabolism, Cell Communication and Stem Cells, covering material rarely taught to freshmen. In the spring semester, new topics will correlate basic science and clinical entities.
Designed specifically for first time on campus students who are interested in the biomedical sciences, the program meets six Fridays during each semester, and will require abundant involvement from participants, who will meet “very senior, famous scientists and will have to strut their stuff,” said Burns, and have access to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.
The current cohort of Scholars will continue the program for three more years, with increasing responsibility, independence and exposure as they advance through college. Next year, up to 20 incoming students will be offered spots in the program, “assuming this pilot is a success,” said Dean Bacon.
“This program is a really great opportunity,” said participant Anne Buzzell, of Clayton, NC. “The Einstein professors are highly qualified and give really interesting and smart lectures.”
Charles Lavene, a Yeshiva College participant, said that, although he has already set his sights on attending Einstein, “the program so far has sold me on Einstein even more.”
Buzzell noted that Einstein, too, hopes to benefit from this program. “The Dean mentioned that he hopes to see more undergraduate students take advantage of what Einstein has to offer,” she said.
The administration hopes that this program will prove “a competitive advantage,” for students when applying to medical school, said Dr. Burns. “It will be as useful for getting into Einstein as it would be to get into any other medical school,” he stressed.
The idea for the program first emerged last year, when YU President Richard M. Joel approached Dr. Burns to create a unique initiative “that would tie Einstein to the undergraduate YU programs in such a way to make Yeshiva and Stern Colleges unique in the sciences,” said Dr. Burns. With assistance from Provost Morton Lowengrub, several deans, the YU pre-med advisors and Dr. Victoria Freedman, associate dean for graduate programs in the biomedical sciences, the program was formed.
Although the program is the first of its kind at YU, there are tentative thoughts of expanding the model further. “Based on this experience, we would like to try to develop something similar between the undergraduate schools and our Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law,” said Dean Bacon.