NSC Starts Post-Baccalaureate program in conjunction with University of Nevada School of Medicine

This semester marks the start of NSC’s first Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program, in conjunction with the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM), for students interested in medical school. According to UNSOM, the Post-Baccalaureate Program is a structured, one-year certificate program designed for students who have finished a bachelor’s degree but are not academically competitive for medical school due to grades, coursework, or extended time since degree completion. The program was designed for students who need GPA improvement, MCAT preparation, or additional upper division science coursework to be competitive for medical school admissions.
UNSOM began the program two years ago at UNR, but this year they opened the program to a second cohort of students that can participate in southern Nevada through Nevada State College. UNSOM considers several criteria for selection, including an overall undergraduate GPA between 2.85 and 3.4, or a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 30 credits of college coursework. Applicants must also have a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and must demonstrate significant clinical and community service experience. In addition, preference is given to Nevada residents who identify as a member of a disadvantaged, underserved, or underrepresented population in health care. Those populations include:

  • 1st generation college students
  • Students from low-income households
  • Underrepresented minorities
  • Medically underserved (typically rural) communities
  • US Military Veterans

Applicants must have completed the following prerequisites before applying to the program: 15 credits in the biological sciences; 8 credits in general chemistry; 8 credits in organic chemistry; 8 credits in general physics; 3 credits in psychology.
Once selected for the Post-Baccalaureate program, students must meet several program requirements to be admitted to UNSOM as a medical student. Students are required to complete 32 credits within two semesters, including a summer MCAT preparation course; must maintain a minimum of a 3.3 overall GPA; and must complete the MCAT with a minimum composite score of 26 with no sub-score lower than a 7. Students who meet those requirements will be eligible to interview for UNSOM’s early admissions seats; the University of Nevada School of Medicine reserves as much as 10% of its incoming class for successful graduates of the Post-Baccalaureate Program.
For the five students taking part in the NSC program, they have their work cut out for them. Accepted students take approximately 16 credits per semester in upper-division biology, biochemistry, public health, and other related subjects. The course load and schedule is very rigorous the program is intended to mimic the intensity of medical school to prepare the students for the difficult work ahead, according to UNSOM.
Programs of study are created individually for each student based on their academic needs. Students are also required to attend bi-weekly team-based-learning seminars as well as monthly advising meetings throughout the year. At the end of the academic year, students take an intensive MCAT preparation course before they take the test in mid-late summer.
Vice Provost of Scholarship and Experiential Curriculum, Dr. Robin Cresiski, worked with UNSOM to set up the certificate program at NSC, and believes this program gives NSC students a competitive edge. So many of our students have had to overcome life obstacles while in college and didn’t have the time to build the resume required to get into medical school, Dr. Cresiski said. This program gives them a second chance to focus on mastering the intensive study skills and foundational knowledge they all need to have a more competitive application and, importantly, a more successful medical school experience.

NSC well-represented at 3rd Annual NSHE Diversity Summit

November 07, 2014
The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) hosted its 3rd Annual Diversity Summit in Southern Nevada on Friday, October 3, 2014. The event was held at the Cheyenne Campus of the College of Southern Nevada, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Hundreds of staff and faculty members from Southern Nevada institutions attended the event, including a large contingency from NSC. Also, in attendance were NSHE students and community members, as the summit was free and open to the public.
We’re happy to be here, to represent NSC, said NSSA Vice President Yesenia Cuevas. In addition to the six students who attended, twenty-three staff and faculty members from NSC participated in the summit, representing several different departments on campus. Business Manager & Student Activities Advisor Jerica Turek-Johnson says she is pleased with both the students and the faculty and staff for their participation. I’m really glad we had such a large presence this year, she said. I’m especially proud of our students for attending and participating in this conversation about diversity. These are very important issues, and we all need to be involved.
This all-day event included morning plenaries and afternoon track sessions related to diversity, student success initiatives, workforce and economic development, and community engagement, with an overarching theme of pipelines to higher education. The welcome session took place at CSN’s Horn Theater. Participants were greeted by Regent Cedric Crear, Chair of the Cultural Diversity Committee.
The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Dr. Luis Ponjuan from Texas A&M University. Dr. Ponjuan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Resource Development at Texas A&M, and a Research Director for the Investing in Diversity, Equity, Access, and Learning (iDEAL) Research Project. Attendees raved about Dr. Ponjuan’s dynamic and captivating presentation about the plight of Hispanic males in education, entitled A Life is Waiting: Issues Facing Hispanic Males in College. I thought the speaker was phenomenal, said Alumni Relations & Development Operations Manager Danielle Welch. I really enjoyed his presentation. It was extremely impactful and very relevant for us here in Nevada.
Following the keynote speaker was a Q&A special presentation with CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky and NSHE Chancellor Dan Klaich. After the Q&A, participants were able to network with one another during lunch, and then attend two afternoon breakout sessions. The options for the first breakout session, held from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m., were as follows: Keys to Veteran Success and Retention: A UNLV Model; Latino Youth Leadership Conference Partnerships for Student Success in Nevada; Student Success from Before Day One: Designing Initiatives and Processes to Guide Students to a Successful Experience. The second breakout session, held from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., offered the following options: The Layered Identity of Latinos: How National Origin, Language and Acculturation Add to the Complexity of What it Means to be Latino; Non-Traditional Students: The Fastest Growing Population on College Campuses in the U.S.; Fostering a Culture of Diversity Through Mentorship.
Diversity plays an important role in each of our institutions, and we are always looking for ways to show our commitment, said Jennifer Haft, Executive Assistant to the President. To show its commitment, NSC recently established a Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, comprised of various faculty and staff members from across campus. This task force will be led by Dr. Edith Fernández, Associate Vice President of Community Engagement and Diversity Initiatives at NSC. Dr. Fernández says she has high hopes for the diversity task force and is looking forward to the many things it will accomplish.
The 4th Annual NSHE Diversity Summit will be held next fall at Nevada State College. Dr. Fernández says her department has started planning for the event. We’re already getting ready and putting things in place now, she said. This is a huge deal for us; it’s extremely important, and we are taking it very seriously. We really want next year’s summit to be the best one ever!

NSC hires new director for Writing Center

Dr. Kathryn Tucker is the newly-hired Writing Center Director and Assistant Professor of English Rhetoric and Composition here at NSC. Dr. Tucker and her staff of six Peer Writing Specialists are building up the Writing Center this semester and have big plans for the future.
Dr. Tucker says a few years ago, students could receive help with writing through the Student Academic Center (now the Academic Success Center) with English 100, 101, and 102, or paper formatting for other courses. Now, the role of the Writing Center is changing. The job description for tutors presently includes ongoing training, mock tutorials and reading about writing centers, among other things. Dr. Tucker also changed the title of workers from Writing Tutor to Peer Writing Specialist.
Dr. Tucker and Peer Writing Specialist Tyler Kaplan just returned from the International Writing Center Association and National Conference on Peer Tutoring of Writing joint conference in Florida. They presented a poster titled “Helping Writing Center Stakeholders Imagine the Thesis,” part of a research collaboration with the Director of the Writing Center and the peer writing tutors at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.
Tyler is one of six Peer Writing Specialists currently employed by the Writing Center. Five of those students are English or English Education majors, and one is a Math Education major. Dr. Tucker is interested in hiring writers from all disciplines. Writing is something that happens across the curriculum. It’s not limited to [specific] courses, she said.
The Writing Center offers assistance to all students, throughout every stage of the writing process. Whether students need help brainstorming ideas, developing an outline, proofreading, etc., Dr. Tucker says the Writing Center is there to help. There are three locations for the Writing Center, she said. The daily schedule varies at each location, but students can find someone available in at least one location, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Those locations are: room 125 in the LAS building, room 104 in the Dawson building and the Basic & Water library.
Peer Writing Specialists work with students in 30-minute sessions, during which the specialist and the student engage in conversation about the student’s writing. The specialist looks at the student’s writing and works with the student on whatever the student requests. [As writers] getting feedback from real readers on what we’re doing is priceless, Dr. Tucker said.
Dr. Tucker feels that the one-on-one tutoring is a start but has many goals for Peer Writing Specialists; she would like the specialists to do undergraduate research, participate in conferences, offer workshops on various subjects, such as grammar, and give presentations in classrooms. Classroom presentations and other services provided by the Writing Center, she believes, could accompany the professor’s instruction. The Writing Center is not meant to replace it’s meant to enhance, provide resources and supplement, she said. It’s really a collaborative endeavor.
Many of the ideas and plans for the NSC Writing Center stem from Dr. Tucker’s research, and her previous experience with writing centers. She started working in a writing center as an undergraduate student at Occidental College. After receiving her Ph.D., she became a faculty writing advisor. One of the benefits of a writing center is that you have built-in readers people who will always be invested in helping you convey your message as clearly as possible, Dr. Tucker explained. She joined the NSC team because she says it put her in an ideal position, as she is able to combine two of her passions: teaching English and running a Writing Center. She enjoys interacting with the students and believes that Writing Centers play a major role in the learning process, especially at such a diverse school like NSC. Writing centers are particularly important in a place where you have so many discourse communities come together, she said.
According to Dr. Tucker, writing tutoring was very underutilized in the Spring 2014 semester. Around 400 students came in for English or paper formatting, out of the thousands of students enrolled at the college. Dr. Tucker encourages the student body to take advantage of the Writing Center and its services. She feels it plays a vital role in helping students see a bigger picture in their writing and getting a sense of mastery and control over their work.
The National Day on Writing was October 20, 2014. To celebrate, the Writing Center and the English department decorated the LAS building with large sheets of butcher paper, inviting students to share their writing, especially related to this year’s theme, Write My Community. Chair of the Humanities department, Dr. Gregory Robinson, says he was proud and impressed by student participation in this project. He and Dr. Tucker want students to embrace the art of writing, regardless of style, skill level or experience. I think it’s important to realize that there isn’t one right way to write, Dr. Tucker stated. It’s not that one way is correct, and the other isn’t. It’s a matter of context.
The Writing Center is currently hiring specialists and offering drop-in sessions for tutoring services. To work with a Writing Specialist at the Writing Center, drop by LAS 125, DA 104D, or BW2 Library or visit Nscwritingcenter.com. To become a Peer Writing Specialist for the Spring semester, call (702) 992-2990.