USI’s first Be a Medical Professional Day hosts over 100 high school students


Over 100 high school students from the Tri-state visited the University of Southern Indiana to learn more about becoming a medical professional at the first annual Be a Medical Professional Day, hosted by the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education.

Students were able to explore a variety of majors leading to professional school such as chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, exercise science and psychology. An alumni panel, including a physician’s assistant, a physical therapist, current students at IU School of Medicine, a current USI biology major who was recently accepted to medical school and a current USI exercise science major who was recently accepted to physical therapy school, answered questions about every step of the process to become a practicing medical professional.

In a hands-on biology lab, students used six different colored strains of bacteria to paint on agar plates, which are petri dishes filled with bacterial growth food. The bacteria will grow over the course of a few days and the students’ artwork will develop.

In a transformative chemistry lab, students turned copper pennies into “silver” and “gold” by using a zinc chloride mix to plate zinc onto the surface of a penny, creating a coin with a silver appearance. Then, by heating the penny, the composition changes, creating a coin with a golden appearance.

To close, Dr. Joey Barnette, USI alumnus and former Co-Chair of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine Admissions Committee, gave an inspirational keynote on planning a path to professional school.

Dr. Kim Delaney, Interim Associate Dean of the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education, thought the inaugural event was extremely successful. “We were able to give students hands-on experience and show the resources USI can provide to help students reach their goal of becoming a practicing medical professional,” she said.

USI’s Pre-Professional Program provides students with the necessary preparation to reach graduate school and their chosen profession. Personalized tracks in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-chiropractic, pre-optometry, pre-physician assistant, pre-pharmacy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-physical therapy, pre-veterinary and medical laboratory science allow students to prepare for the career most interesting to them. Over 90% of pre-professional students are accepted into professional school, and 99% of USI alumni in medical school earn a residency placement of their choice. USI has produced over 500 medical professionals regionally.