Francesca DeSilvio (center, above) spent part of her summer in the pre-med and science pre-college program at Wagner College in Staten Island, NY.
Why did you choose to participate in a summer program?
I chose the Wagner Pre-Med and Science Pre-College Program because I wanted to learn more about the medical field and thought there would be no better place to attend a summer program than a college that I always wanted to attend.
How did you decide which program or camp was right for you?
Something always fascinated me about the medical field. I love the idea of helping others and putting others’ needs before mine. I knew I wanted to participate in this program because I always wanted to attend Wagner and knew this summer program would allow me to earn credits, learn from professors and talk to students in Wagner’s prestigious physician assistant program.
What was a typical day in your summer program?
My day started at 9 a.m. with a health class that lasted until noon. In this class, we focused on human anatomy and learned how to take vitals, give ultrasounds, perform CPR, and suture. After this class, my classmates and I would grab lunch at Hawks Nest, one of the dining facilities at Wagner, and hang out before our next class. After our break, we would have Microbiology from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. where we would talk about the many different bacteria found in the body and go into the lab and look at them through microscopes and try to identify what type they were and their purpose. After this class, many of us would go back to the dorms and form a study group where we would help each other with homework and just have fun. Throughout the three weeks, we also had specialized events planned including trips to nearby hospitals and the FDA.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
My most memorable moment was at the very end of the program when I gave a presentation of the project that I had been preparing for the whole summer. I remember standing in front of fellow classmates (who had quickly become my best friends), family, professors and the current Wagner physician assistant class. I loved being in a room filled with people who had the same passion, hearing all the different projects that my friends were presenting and answering questions from the audience. It was that day where I knew I wanted to become a physician assistant, and I could not have done it with the support of my parents, friends, and of course my professors who helped me every step of the way.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs or camps?
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to apply for programs that are out of your comfort zone, or apply to programs where you would need to stay overnight. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. It helped me find best friends, the place where I would eventually attend college, and a career path that I’ve fallen in love with. All of this happened because I stepped out of my comfort zone. I had the best time, and I am forever thankful for what that summer gave me.