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Meet Our PACE Students

Jefferson's Plan a College Education (PACE) students attend another college or university for two years to complete their prerequisites and liberal arts education, and then transfer into lower- and upper-division college study at Jefferson.  High school students who want to assure admission to Jefferson's occupational therapy, nursing, bioscience technologies and radiologic sciences programs can apply to the PACE program in their senior year of high school.  Learn more about the PACE Program.

Class of 2010


Estes

Leigh, Radiologic Sciences: Nuclear Medicine | email
Pathway:
Washington Township High School '06 >> Gloucester County College '08 >>
Jefferson '10

Before applying to Jefferson, I called Admissions to find out more about the Nuclear Medicine program.  They suggested that I shadow a Nuclear Medicine technician at Jefferson Hospital and even arranged the visit for me.  Jefferson’s Admissions counselors are fantastic.  They kept in constant communication with me, through email and regular on-campus visits, and made sure that I was prepared to succeed at Jefferson.  Compared to someone who isn’t a part of the PACE program, I knew my way around campus very well.   Whenever my PACE cohort came to campus, they’d take us on a tour, so I had seen Jefferson five times prior to starting classes.   

When you come to Jefferson, be prepared for a lot of work.  I’m much busier now than I was at county college.  You don’t have a lot of free time or the luxury of a part-time job.  It’s a time commitment; an average week consists of clinical three days a week and class two days a week. 

My experience at Jefferson has been unique because I actually started clinical before I started class.  I was expected to show up at the clinical site immediately after Orientation, ready to learn right away.  The attending technicians know that you haven’t been to class yet, so they teach you but don’t expect you to understand everything right away. 

There aren’t a lot of schools in the Philadelphia area that have a Nuclear Medicine program.  Jefferson’s program and clinical affiliations are superb; there are a lot of top hospitals to choose from.  Completing my degree at Jefferson allows me to complete two modalities – Nuclear Medicine and Cardiac Sonography – in the time it usually takes to complete one.   The two modalities are complementary because in Nuclear Medicine, we perform stress tests which usually result in sending the patient to the Cardiac Sonography department for an echocardiogram.  Also, Nuclear Medicine technicians generally work on-call, so I’m hoping to do Cardiac Sonography during day and Nuclear Medicine on-call.

 

Maya

Maya, Radiologic Sciences: Radiation Therapy | email
Pathway:
William Tennent High School '06 >> Bucks County Community College '08 >>
Jefferson '10

Several years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Since she’s Russian and speaks little English, I’d translate during consultations with the oncologist, and eventually during her radiation therapy sessions.  Experiencing my grandmother’s battle with cancer made me realize that I wanted to help people, especially through the field of radiation therapy. 

My mom’s friend worked in ultrasound, so she connected me with a radiation therapist at her hospital. She was a Jefferson grad and spoke highly of the program.  I shadowed her, which was a great experience – you see what a person is doing, what their job entails and how they’re impacting people.

Now at Jefferson, the people I work with at my clinical site are certified.  Jefferson is one of the only schools that offers a bachelor's degree in Radiation Therapy.

Jefferson’s Radiologic Sciences department is one of a few in the country that offers eleven different modalities.  The fact that Jefferson had the Radiation Therapy modality was most important in my decision to enroll, but the PACE program was an added bonus.  The program allowed me to stay close to home for two years while completing my prerequisites. 

Jessica

Jessica, Radiologic Sciences: General Sonography | email
Pathway:
Clearview Regional High School '06 >> Gloucester County College '08 >> Jefferson '10

After high school, I wasn’t quite ready to move away.  Jefferson’s PACE program was the perfect fit because it allowed me to stay close to home while saving money by attending Gloucester County College for two years.  Jefferson made the transition easy; I was given a list of required courses to take, so I knew exactly what I’d be taking at Gloucester County each semester. 

I’m glad I moved to Jefferson’s Center City campus because if I were at home in New Jersey there would be too many distractions – the Radiologic Sciences program is a lot of hard work and studying!

I’m completing a degree in two modalities – General Sonography and Vascular Sonography.  I’m already learning a lot about Vascular Sonography in my first year General Sonography courses, so I’ll be extremely prepared for next year’s coursework.

Three days a week, I go on clinical rotations at Jefferson Center City Imaging, where I shadow sonographers and will eventually work on my own.  Jefferson is one of the only sonography programs that allows its students to work independently during the clinical experience.  It’s a great learning opportunity for me, since I’m a hands-on type of person, and the experience will be an asset when I graduate. 

I’m confident that I’ll land a good job after graduation.  I’m attending a prestigious school – having a Jefferson degree will set me apart from other sonography graduates.

Lindsay

Lindsay, Occupational Therapy | email
Pathway:
Colts Neck High School '05 >> Stockton College '07 >> Jefferson '10

Before deciding to enroll at Jefferson, I sat down with an admissions counselor, attended an Open House and talked to current students.  Jefferson’s reputation and the relationship between faculty and students were impressive; however, it was the hands-on learning experience – and starting clinical rotations in the first semester in particular – that sold me on Jefferson’s OT program.  

Clinical experience gets you into the mindset of thinking about what you want to do in the future.  Hands-on learning in various OT practice settings develops your competence and critical thinking.  The more experienced OTs serve as role models, showing you how therapists work on a daily basis and demonstrating what you’re supposed to “look like” as a clinician.

PACE is a great fit for me.  It’s financially more realistic because it cuts out at least a year of study, and since the Master’s degree is now a requirement for practicing OT, this is the most direct and focused path to my professional goals.  Jefferson is unique in that not many schools have a combined BS/MS degree. 

The PACE program is not the typical college experience, so you need to know if it’s a good fit for you.   It’s a very structured program; all of your classes are mandatory and you don’t have the option of changing your major.  However, for those students who have a well-defined career path, the PACE program is the quickest and most efficient way to reach your goals.

 

Class of 2012


Aubrey

Aubrey, Occupational Therapy | email
Pathway:
Whitehall High School '07 >> Bloomsburg University '09 >> Jefferson '12

As a high school senior, I had to do a research project, consisting of a formal presentation and hands-on exercise for a panel of teachers, on my future career.  My mom suggested that I speak to her co-worker’s daughter, Amy Hochmiller, an occupational therapist.  “I think occupational therapy would be the perfect fit for you, Aubrey,” Mom said. 

I followed my mom’s advice and chatted with Amy, who was a recent graduate of Jefferson’s OT program.  She suggested that I observe the physical therapists at Whitehall Fellowship Manor, where my Pop-Pop was staying.  Even though I wasn’t caring directly for the patients and often felt I was in the way, I knew was benefiting their lives by making them more comfortable and encouraging them during therapy. 

I also observed occupational therapists at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Center’s pediatric and neurology centers.  One of the exercises we had the kids do – working PlayDoh with their hands – was the hands-on activity I instructed my teachers to do at my final presentation.    

Amy spoke very highly of Jefferson and the OT program, so I decided to check it out for myself.  I’m from Allentown, Pa., which is a pretty rural area, so I applied to a couple of colleges nearby so that it would be an easy transition for me while completing my prerequisite courses.  Although I’ve never lived in the city, I loved the urban setting when I visited Jefferson – it just seemed like the right environment for me. 

I’m also impressed by Jefferson’s use of the newest technology.  I haven’t come across another school with such realistic simulation labs, which are extremely beneficial to me as a healthcare student. 

I have a lot of experience working with children, so I’m pretty sure I’ll go into pediatric OT.  During the summer, I’m a camp counselor at Camp Whitehall and I’ve been a lifeguard for several years, so I’ve taught many kids how to swim.  Over this past Christmas break, I worked with children in kindergarten through eighth grade and loved shadowing in a classroom environment. 

Class of 2013

Lindsey

Lindsey, Occupational Therapy | email
Pathway:
Council Rock High School North '08 >> Rider University '10 >> Jefferson '13

During my junior year of high school, my younger sister had a horseback riding accident during which she suffered severe brain trauma.  Her recovery period was long – a year passed before she was completely back to normal.  She worked with several doctors and OTs on restoring her memory, which had regressed to that of a five year old.  After school, I’d sit with her and we’d play memory games. My mom suggested that I research a career in occupational therapy since I enjoyed helping my sister regain her memory and always wanted to teach children.  As part of my inquiry, a social worker at my school set me up with the school district’s occupational therapist.  Speaking to her opened my eyes to the various career opportunities within the field and piqued my interest, so I started to research OT degree programs in the Philadelphia area. 

Jefferson’s PACE program is unique in that it gives me the reassurance that I’m already accepted I don’t need to reapply.  The admissions counselors contact you often to make sure you’re on the right track and doing well with the prerequisite courses. 

The Jefferson community makes you feel involved before you arrive on campus.  Although I don’t start classes at Jefferson until fall 2010, I already have a JeffMail account and I receive regular communication from the College.  Last spring, Jefferson hosted a welcome barbeque for the PACE students.  The professors and advisors were there, as well as the students in my cohort.  It was a nice experience, and it prepared me for what’s ahead. 

I applied to several OT programs in the Philadelphia area, but it was my visit to Jefferson that made a lasting impressio