Success Stories

joan Cullen

Joan CullenI graduated from Clarion University in May 2013 with double majors in Spanish and biology. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I was a member of Clarion's Honors Programs, the Women's Rugby Club, the Study Abroad Club, and played for Clarion University's Symphony Orchestra. I worked closely with the Honors Program and the Study Abroad Club to be able to study abroad in South America.

My educational experiences leading up to, and including Clarion University, have been rather unorthodox since I graduated from high school at the young age of 15, then studied abroad and worked before beginning at Clarion University in 2009.

I entered Clarion University with an intended veterinary medicine major, but then went on to test majors in environmental science, epidemiology, and public health. My senior year at Clarion University gave me an opportunity to shadow a physician, which ultimately led me to decide to pursue a degree in medicine.

I took the MCAT that same year before graduating, after which time I worked as a pharmacy tech in Erie and applied to medical schools. I ultimately chose to pursue a graduate degree at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I met fellow CU and LECOM graduate, Andrew Knauer, my husband.

I graduated from LECOM in May 2018 and have since accepted a residency position in internal medicine at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey.

I'm grateful for the close-knit Clarion University community and for the mentorship of my professors throughout college. No one gets where they are without help, so students should always be open to help from peers and faculty at the university.

Kinsey Laninga

Kinsey LaningaI am a spring 2018 graduate of Clarion University with a biology pre-med major. I was involved as a biology student volunteer for Clarion University, a position that has allowed me to communicate and mentor high school students in areas related to college adjustment, the biology field, and Clarion University in general.

I'm continuing my studies at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I intend to graduate in the class of 2022. My decision to attend medical school was fueled not only by my love of science and helping people, but my participation in a LECOM Affiliation Program, which also solidified my placement.

I took part in the LECOM Affiliation Program over Summer 2015, during which time I was about to enter my sophomore year at the university. This program allowed me to take the necessary exams, pre-medical courses, and be selected for LECOM entrance upon completion of the requirements beforehand.

I credit my academic advisor, Dr. Scott, with helping me to apply and be admitted into LECOM's Affiliation Program. Dr. Scott also increased my appreciation for osteopathic medicine as we were involved in faculty-student research together; my research group was awarded first place in cellular/molecular biology achievements two years in a row.

Dr. Scott also introduced me into multiple meetings of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania University Biologists Association- a network of students, biology educators, and professionals throughout biology-related fields. The networking and major-related exploration I underwent while at the university proved invaluable resources, as they led me to pursue my medical profession at LECOM and work toward my doctoral degree.

christian schill

Christian Schill spotlightI am entering my senior year at Clarion University with a major in molecular biology and biotechnology and a minor in chemistry.

I'm the current president of the Healthcare Careers Club, a resource club for pre-professional medical students, and a returning member of the Advisory Board for Leadership and Engagement. The Advisory Board is an amazing club focused on community service and leadership development with an extremely motivated group of students participating. I also serve as a CA in the Suites on Main North residential building, which I do for the Honors Program's Living Learning Community.

I'm also a member in Clarion's Translational Research and Medicine Club, based on increasing public awareness about public health issues and communication between the public and the scientific community. In the past, I've served as the club's student senator, while also participating beyond the scope of clubs into research with faculty members of the university.

I'm currently working under Dr. Craig Scott, of Clarion's biology department, alongside two sophomore students, looking into genes affecting mitochondrial stress responses. The group's research is based on analyzing the relationship of genetics and cell physiology surrounding cellular stress responses. I've been involved in multiple research projects through the biology lab at the university for the past three years, and I continually complete service projects for ABLE, a community service club.

I plan to take the lessons I've gained from these experiences at Clarion University to medical school starting in fall 2019. I've been interviewing and submitting medical school applications in order to continue my education to become a physician.

So far, I've received one acceptance letter to medical school and hope to procure one with specialized fields of either neurology or neurosurgery. I admit medical students often change their path, so nothing is definite, but I would be happy in either field or in a potential teaching position.

The clubs and research I've been part of while in college have helped me to grow into a confident and competent scientist and have taken my abilities in leadership from a weakness into a strength.

Last Updated 10/25/18