Lehigh Valley graduate 'SELECT'ed for new med school program

Macungie native Emma Webb graduates from Penn State on May 7 having completed a bachelor of science in biology in just three years. It is a relatively rare accomplishment for most college students, and Webb succeeded in doing it while also working and juggling the responsibilities of being a mother to 4-year-old Samantha.

Though her degree is officially coming from the University Park campus, Webb has chosen to attend Penn State Lehigh Valley's commencement ceremony at Stabler Arena for a number of reasons. Aside from the fact that it will allow a large number of family members to attend, Webb began her college education at Penn State Lehigh Valley through a dual-enrollment program in her senior year of high school and developed strong relationships with many of her Lehigh Valley professors throughout her time at the campus.

"I loved my time at the Lehigh Valley campus primarily because of the small class sizes and the opportunity to work closely with professors who go above and beyond for their students," said Webb. "It was especially important for me to have one of my advisers, Julie Ealy, see me graduate."

For the last year, Webb and her daughter have traveled back and forth to University Park each week while she completed her course work.

"I would have finished my degree at the Lehigh Valley campus if I could have, especially because of my family and my daughter's father living here," said Webb. "But we made it work even when it was a challenge. When she would get sick and not be able to go to daycare, class for me wouldn't be canceled so she would have to come with me some days."

Adding to the pride that her family and former faculty members will experience when she receives her diploma is the knowledge of what is ahead for the young pre-med student. Webb has been accepted to the first-ever class of a new medical education partnership between Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and the University of South Florida College of Medicine (USFCOM). According to the program materials, the SELECT program (Scholarly Excellence. Leadership Experiences. Collaborative Training.) is a four-year program leading to the medical doctor degree that focuses on developing the leadership skills of students chosen for their scholarly excellence, emotional intellect, and their deep desire and determination to positively alter the future of health care practice and administration.

After graduation on Saturday, Webb will begin preparing to move to Tampa Bay for the first two years of the program at USFCOM. After that, she will return to the Lehigh Valley for two years of clinical education and leadership development at LVHN. She will embark on this journey on July 25, just two days after her 21st birthday.

To even be considered for the program, Webb had to first be accepted by USFCOM. Then the school invited qualified accepted students to interview for SELECT. Webb was initially evaluated based on her GPA and MCAT scores, as well as a review of her personal statement and extracurricular activities. The program places a strong emphasis on leadership skills and innovative thinking, qualities Webb credits Penn State Lehigh Valley with helping her develop.

"I took on a leadership role as vice president of the Honors Club at Lehigh Valley. In addition, my professors really challenged me to think, and to think critically. They helped me hone problem-solving skills that I know I will use for the rest of my life. I think the fact that I was able to be successful in college while raising a daughter may have also helped me stand out."

The accelerated nature of the SELECT program seems to fit right in with Webb's educational journey so far. She noted that, though completing her undergraduate program in three years involved heavy course loads and summer classes, she never felt that she took on more than she could handle.

"I'm excited to graduate with my Penn State degree and excited for this next step toward my goal of becoming a doctor. I'm up for the challenge."

For more information, contact University Relations at 610-285-5067.

For information about the SELECT program, log on to www.SELECT.health.usf.edu online, or contact Maggie Hadinger, manager of the Office of Student Affairs at LVHN, by email at Margaret_A.Hadinger@lvhn.org, or William Houder, admissions counselor/recruiter at USF, by email at whouder@health.usf.edu.


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Last Updated May 05, 2011