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PostBac Program Provides Career Focus
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from Smith College, Jade Jerolmon began working at a crisis center in Vermont. It was during that time that she began to think about a career in medicine.
“I used to go with people on the hot line to the hospital after they had been assaulted. It was horrible. I felt powerless. I didn’t feel like I could do very much for them besides listen.
“But I also saw how the nursing staff and the doctors were able to actually do something concrete to help these people and I started to appreciate that concrete set of skills,” Jade said.
Shortly after, Jade began working at the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society’s adoption center in Leverett, where she was trained to give vaccines, draw blood, implant microchips, and perform other procedures on various creatures. This experience led Jade to a job assisting the veterinarians at a small animal clinic in Williamsburg, where she has now worked for several years. A lover of animals since her youth, Jade imagined becoming a veterinary doctor but the path seemed overwhelming.
“I kept thinking about going back to school but it seemed like such a daunting thing to figure out how to get all these science classes and make it to vet school,” she said.
Jade’s plan was scattered; a community college course here, a UMass course there. Research was telling her that most medical schools expect students to matriculate from a program with an academic advisor. Further research led Jade to the postbaccalaureate premedical program at Elms College, an institution where her friend had graduated from and spoke well of.
Planning Her Course
“From the first email I got from Dr. Williams she had already planned out the next two years of my life. It was really helpful to have such a clear course set for me,” Jade said.
Janet Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, also encouraged Jade to make a bigger commitment to her studies. Jade was thinking she would take her courses part time, a path that would take eight years to realize.
“She told me that if I wanted to do it, I was going to have to make it a priority and do it all at once, which is what the schools want to see,” Jade said.
Jade obliged, stopped working full time, and committed herself to completing the two year track. She applied to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University last November and was brought in for an interview in January. In March, Jade heard the good news that she had been accepted.
“Tufts has an amazing wildlife program. They have all the students learn everything–you don’t have to specialize. When you graduate you have all these options,” she said.
Jade hopes to start working in a large clinic when she graduates from Tufts. Eventually she wants to operate her own mobile clinic in the hill towns of western Massachusetts, so she can bring veterinary care directly to the animals.