Dr. Ulrike Schultz joined the new one-year, postbaccalaureate premedical program in July as its director. She previously was an adjunct faculty member at Loras. She has a medical degree from University of Tübingen in Germany and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Iowa.
“They are a special group,” she said of the first students in the program, which was designed to be small, but could accommodate up to 15 students.
“We only have them for one year,” Schultz said. “Everything is more condensed.”
Typical premed students at Loras have four years to decide if they are on the right career path, she said. To get everything done in 12 months, individualized course schedules have been developed for each of the students in the postbaccalaureate program. Their undergraduate transcripts have been evaluated to make sure their courses at Loras fit with their backgrounds. Schultz will work with them to determine what schools they hope to attend after they leave Loras and to verify that they will meet those schools’ pre-requisites. She also will help them get ready for the Medical College Admission Test and seek research, clinical, and volunteer opportunities so they are fully prepared after their year at Loras.
She views her position as an opportunity to build relationships with her students in order to best help them. “I really have to talk to them and figure them out,” she said. “You can’t just meet once. You have to meet again and again.”
As the oldest college in Iowa, Loras has a long and successful history of educating premed students and sending them on to become medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, podiatrists, physical therapists and physician assistants. In May, five students began their studies in programs that provides the needed coursework commonly required for entrance to medical schools. The students have come to Loras from five states and have completed bachelor’s degrees in subjects ranging from psychology to finance to Spanish. One plans to become a dentist and the other four want to pursue careers in medicine.
“We are the only career-changer postbaccalaureate premedical program in Iowa and one of the few in the Midwest,” said Dr. Kate Cooper, an associate professor of biology who has helped launch the program.
“We are excited about the opportunity to have a program to help motivated and bright students make their dreams of a career in healthcare a reality,” Cooper said. “Additionally, it helps to highlight the strengths Loras has in the sciences for all students and hopefully will attract even more strong undergraduates interested in science to Loras as well.”