WSU Cosponsors Conference for the Female Pre-Medical Students

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s pre-medical programs and McKay-Dee Hospital Center are cosponsoring the annual Girls Exploring Medicine Conference (GEM) on Oct. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at McKay-Dee Hospital Center. This invitation-only event is for female pre-medical students to learn more about career opportunities and obstacles that may arise in the medical field.

According to Natalie Trent, a third-year resident at McKay-Dee and GEM workshop presenter, medical schools across the nation have seen an increase in female graduates, from 30 percent in 1980 to around 50 percent currently. Utah, however, has the lowest percentage in the nation, with approximately 30 percent female medical graduates yearly.

“This is not due to lack of intelligence, ability or interest, but simply because fewer women in Utah actually fill out an application,” Trent said. “Girls Exploring Medicine is a program designed to empower female WSU pre-med students to apply to medical school and to help them realize their dreams are achievable.”

Jason Fritzler, assistant professor of microbiology and faculty advisor for WSU’s Ezekiel R. Dumke Family Pre-Medical Professional Programs, said it’s important for women to get involved in medicine.

“One of the most common misconceptions is that females can’t have a career as a physician and have a family life, too. This is completely untrue,” Fritzler said. “At Girls Exploring Medicine, we will have 21 women who have the family life as well as the physician life.”

The conference is an opportunity for female pre-med students to ask questions to various female physicians from McKay-Dee about their professional and personal paths. One of the goals is to help students early, in their academic careers, make sure they are on their desired path.  

On average, about 60 to 65 percent of all the pre-medical students from Weber State University who apply to medical school get accepted — significantly higher than the 40 to 45 percent national average. 

Check-in for GEM will be held at the East Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. Students will attend three different workshops, as well as a lunch with keynote speaker Dr. Carissa Monroy, a physician and mother in Clearfield, Utah. The workshops include:

  • “Husband Panel” moderated by Dr. Vanna Irving, second-year resident.  Participants will hear from four husbands of physicians.
  • “Suturing” with Dr. Cassie Whittier, chief resident and graduate of WSU. Students will suture pigs’ feet.
  • “Game of Medical Life” with Dr. Natalie Trent, third-year resident, which will demonstrate the challenges of medical school and residency training through a life-sized game board.

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Jason Fritzler, faculty advisor for the Ezekiel R. Dumke Family Pre-Medical Professional Programs
801-626-7758 •
Mandie Barnes, University Communications 
801-626-7948 •