California State University, Fullerton

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From Music to Medicine

Miles McCarthy Awardee Off to Medical School

May 23, 2013

Elizabeth Shuman earned an undergraduate degree in music, with classical singing her passion. But today, she is singing a different tune, turning to a career in medicine.

Following completion of Cal State Fullerton's postbaccalaureate Pre-Health Professions Studies certificate program that prepared her for the rigors of medical school, she has been accepted to USC's Keck School of Medicine and is wait-listed at several other prestigious universities.

Because of high academic achievement and commitment to serve humanity, Shuman is the recipient of the 2013 Miles D. McCarthy Health Professions Postbaccalaureate Award, given each spring by the Health Professions Committee. The award is named in honor of Miles D. McCarthy, the late faculty member who founded the Health Professions Committee, which, in concert with the Health Professions Advising Office, has a successful record of mentoring and supporting students in obtaining acceptance into medical, veterinary, dental, osteopathic, pharmacy and optometry schools.

McCarthy's widow, Martha, presented Shuman with the award May 10 at the postbaccalaureate program reception. She also will be recognized at the University's May 24 Honors Convocation.

"This award is justification for all the hard work it took to get through the program, and it's also a reflection of my passion for this career path. To know that my mentors and professors think I deserve this award is very humbling," said Shuman of Long Beach.

Shuman graduated cum laude from Cal State Long Beach in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in music. A professional musician, she decided to pursue a career in medicine, inspired by her father and late maternal grandfather, both physicians, and her mother, a registered nurse.

She credits Christina A. Goode, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the Health Professions Advising Office, for helping her to master important concepts in biochemistry to realize her goals.

During the 2 ½-year postbaccalaureate program, Shuman gained the science background required to pursue a career in the medical profession, including working in the lab with faculty mentors and volunteering at health clinics in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

She conducted research in the drug discovery laboratory of Peter de Lijser, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and is currently working with Philip Janowicz, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, analyzing the efficacy of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program in organic chemistry, offered through the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Shuman was a peer leader in the SI program that helps undergraduates become successful in gateway science and math courses.

"This opportunity allowed me to get classroom teaching experience, and I hope to be able to continue to teach in some capacity," she said. "Ultimately, I want to be a full-time practicing clinician to enrich my community through the healing art of medical science, and to use my knowledge and skills to directly improve the lives of others."

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

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