Inaugural Post-baccalaureate Class Makes its Mark
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Inaugural Post-baccalaureate Class Makes its Mark

One of the first things students in the first cohort of the Post-baccalaureate in Health Sciences program at Salus University did last fall was fill out a survey about what professions they planned to pursue once they made it through the program.

At the end of that survey, Darryl Horn, PhD, FAAO, the post-bacc program director, included what he called “a weird question” — “If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?”

The answers 12 students gave to that question resurfaced recently, lending a bit of levity to the post-bacc virtual celebration May 13, 2020, which was held to recognize the accomplishments of those students.

Post-bacc celebration over zoomAlthough it lightened the mood, it wasn’t the ice cream references this inaugural post-bacc class would be known for, it’s the mark they  made on the University. 

“You guys have made this first year, this first cohort, really easy on us,” said Dr. Horn, who said he’d be Rocky Road ice cream because he’s sweet and a little bit nutty. “I could not have wished for a first year to go as well as it has. So thank you very much for that and congratulations on finishing.”

Associate provost Brooke Kruemmling, PhD, COMS, echoed Dr. Horn’s sentiments. She said this year’s class was engaged, passionate and was the highlight of her 2019-2020 academic year.

“I’m grateful for how graceful you were when you gave me and Dr. Horn feedback. You were really thoughtful on the ways you told us how we could improve,” said Dr. Kruemmling. “I don’t think we can get another group as good as you.” 

The students honored during the virtual celebration, their future plans and the type of ice cream they’d be included:

  • Lauren Wood, PBHS ‘20, (Birthday Cake because she likes to make people laugh and have a fun time) plans to start medical school in Grenada, Caribbean. 
  • Amanda Tsai, PBHS ‘20, (Mint Chocolate Chip because she likes to be different and unique) will be attending Salus University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) in the fall.
  • Sabrina Syed, PBHS ‘20, (Vanilla, because it complements other desserts) will be attending PCO in the fall.
  • Xin Song, PBHS ‘20, (Vanilla because it’s the most common flavor) will enter the University’s Occupational Therapy (OT) program. 
  • Corey Ryan, PBHS ‘20, (Strawberry or coffee because who can choose just one flavor) plans to apply to Salus and also  dental schools.
  • Karolina Pasierb, PBHS ‘20, (Cotton Candy because she’s sweet and wonderful) will enter PCO in the fall. 
  • Sharandeep Kaur, PBHS ‘20, (Vanilla because its natural color is white, which is a symbol of peace) will enter PCO in the fall.
  • Jincy John, PBHS ‘20, (Chocolate cookies and cream because there’s always an element of surprise with every bit), has not yet announced her plans.
  • Nailah Hill, PBHS ‘20, (Cookies and Cream because it’s a good twist on the classic Oreo cookie) plans to continue her education in a career field that nobody in her family has done.
  • Marissa Cotroneo, PBHS ‘20, (Cotton Candy because people love cotton candy and they love her, too) is uncertain at this point but is currently applying to schools and hopes to stay in a healthcare-related field.
  • Tahreem Chaudhry, PBHS ‘20, (She doesn’t like ice cream, but prefers gelato) is currently applying and interviewing at different schools. 
  • Tracy Atlak, PBHS ‘20, (Also not a big ice cream fan, but if she had to choose, it would be vanilla, with a fudge brownie) will be staying at Salus in the OT program. 

Post bacc celebration over zoom group screenshotAll of the faculty members from the University’s Physician Assistant StudiesOccupational TherapySpeech-Language Pathology, AudiologyBlindness and Low Vision Studies (BLVS) and Optometry (OD) programs who taught the students, along with University president Michael Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE, offered kudos to the students.

“I want to congratulate each and every one of you. I’m so disappointed that we couldn’t do this in person, but this is the next best thing,” said Dr. Mittelman (Chocolate Moose Tracks because he is always tracking in various directions). “I also want to thank Dr. Horn and the rest of the faculty for the fabulous job of getting this program off the ground and making it so successful. You guys did a great job. And, then transitioning to online as you finished up, that was fabulous as well. For those of you who are coming back to Salus in one of our programs, I look forward to seeing you around. We will be there.”

Melissa Trego, OD ‘04, PhD, dean of PCO, said she was proud of the students for putting in the time and effort necessary to successfully complete the program. “For those of you coming into the OD program, you’re going to have an excellent experience. We already know the kind of students that you are and we know that you’re going to be successful,” she said  (Teaberry, because it’s not found everywhere and is a bit unique). “For the rest of you, anywhere you end up going, know that you always have a connection here at Salus.”

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