Pre-health student ambassadors create scholarship for underprivileged youth

Levi Gerson, senior in life sciences, is the vice president of pre-health student ambassadors. (Alanud Alanazi | The Collegian)

The pre-health student ambassadors have recently started a fundraising campaign to put together scholarships for underprivileged youth, who are looking to pursue a career in the health field someday, in areas ranging from Riley County to Kansas City.

Levi Gerson, senior in life sciences and vice president of pre-health student ambassadors, said they are hoping to aid underprivileged youth in obtaining a certified nursing assistant certification or an EMT certification in high school. This will allow them to pursue their health education while earning money so they can later attend college and pursue a health career.

“The goal at the end of the year is to provide at least two scholarships to underprivileged students that might not be able to come here and pursue what might be their dream,” Gerson said.

To fundraise, the ambassadors have helped clean up after football games, done fundraisers at Pizza Ranch and Panda Express and plan on doing a hot cocoa event during dead week, Gerson said.

Their goal is to raise $1,000 by the end of the year, and Gerson said they’re expecting to hit the halfway point to that goal soon.

On top of trying to aid students financially, the main role of the pre-health student ambassadors is to educate prospective students and their parents on what Kansas State has to offer.

Gerson said when prospective students who are interested in a pre-health field come to K-State, they oftentimes speak to one of the ambassadors.

“The reason I got involved in the first place was because I loved talking to people and getting people excited about health in general and that’s the main function of the club, to go talk to these new students,” Gerson said.

Gerson said the ambassadors typically answer questions and give advice about what prospective students’ specific college experience might look like in a panel setting. They explain why K-State’s program is worth being a part of and how it can prepare students for graduate school outside of K-State.

“(My favorite part about being an ambassador) is the abundance of information that we get and through the panels that we do, we’re able to give out that information to other people,” Kristyn Utech, sophomore in biology and pre-health student ambassador, said.

Since the pre-health student ambassador program is fairly new to K-State, Devin Morris, junior in nutritional sciences, said he joined because as a freshman and sophomore he had no idea what to do or how to get involved in the pre-health field.

“(Becoming an ambassador) seemed like a way for me to pass that information on to the younger (students) because I never got that information when I was that age,” Morris said.

In order to help educate, Gerson said the ambassadors are also trying to revamp the pre-health pamphlets that are handed out when prospective students come to K-State. He said in comparison to other departments within the university, the pre-health’s pamphlets are rather insufficient as they merely list all the different health fields with a brief blurb explaining them.

“We’re trying to put together a pamphlet that says if you’re looking into going into pre-med, here are the schools that are in Kansas, here’s the GPA you might be looking for and all the stuff that might help a student think ‘Oh wow, K-State has this wealth of information for me that I haven’t seen at other schools,’” Gerson said.

Gerson also said they want K-State to seem really put together despite not having the graduate schools other universities have.

The ambassadors also travel to Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka to attend events to try and recruit students.

“(At these events) our goal is to educate about pre-health in general and then secondarily, to get people to come to K-State,” Gerson said. “We’re more looking for people to become pre-health students.”

Gerson said he is proud of how the student ambassador club has grown so far.

“(My favorite part) is how well the club is coming together to start all these new programs, getting involved on campus and helping out in the community,” Gerson said.