Nine Local Students Complete Mentoring in Medicine Program at Conemaugh Health System

July 29, 2021

This week, nine students from local colleges will complete their training in Conemaugh Health System’s Mentoring in Medicine program. Now in its 18th year, the program is a 10-week summer experience for undergraduate students interested in pursuing their medical education to become physicians. Since its inception, 174 students have participated in the program, which boasts an 80 percent acceptance rate into medical school. Today, there are ten Mentoring in Medicine alumni serving within the Conemaugh Health System and an additional physician committed to return after residency.

Throughout the program, students shadow physicians across the Conemaugh Health System, exposing each student to a variety of specialties. In addition to providing unique clinical experiences, the program also prepares students for the process of applying to medical school.

“Through the years, the Mentoring in Medicine program has been very successful in providing local students with the tools and experiences they need to develop into strong medical school candidates, and ultimately, excellent physicians,” said Alexander Pozun, DO, Emergency Medicine Physician and Mentoring in Medicine Director. “As we continue to recruit and educate the next generation of physicians to serve in our health system, this program is a critically-important first step in identifying and developing young talent in our community.” This year’s class of students includes:

  •  Primo DiPaolo, a graduate of Blacklick Valley High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  •  Samantha Hong, a graduate of Westmont Hilltop High School and University of Pittsburgh
  •  Tori Kocsis, a graduate of Richland High School and Duquesne University
  •  Thomas Syphan, a home-schooled student and graduate of St. Vincent College
  •  Jayme Ertter, a graduate of Cambria Heights High School and an undergraduate at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
  •  Kiylee Mizera, a graduate of Central Cambria High School and an undergraduate at St. Francis University
  •  Abigail Steinbeck, a graduate of Windber High School and an undergraduate at Westminster College. Abigail has been accepted to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).
  •  Case Tretter, a North Star High School graduate and an undergraduate at Penn State University
  •  Alexis Zazvrskey, a Bishop Carroll High School graduate and an undergraduate at Juniata College
This year’s class was led by student coordinators and program alumni McKenzie Warshel and Rachel Dikum. Warshel is a graduate of Richland High School and the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently a fourth-year medical student at LECOM. Dikum attended Chestnut Ridge High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown before completing her Master’s degree at University of Western States.

Established in 2004 by Drs. Richard and Diana Schroeder, the Mentoring in Medicine program is now overseen by Dr. Alexander Pozun and Melissa Pozun, DPT. The program is open to 10 college or medical school students from Cambria, Somerset, or Bedford counties. Each student must be a rising junior or senior in college with a focus in pre-med or a first-year medical student. Students are required to have taken four of five required courses (pre-med, calculus, biology, organic and/or inorganic chemistry and physics). Applications are due each February.