Pipeline program: VCU Acceleration (2011)
Year in school: Junior in the VCU School of Allied Health Professions
Current major: Clinical radiation sciences
High school/hometown: Nelson County High School, Nelson County, Va.
Interview Date: Summer 2013
Growing up in a small town in Virginia, Emma Eberwien always had an interest in the sciences but she didn’t really consider a career in health care until her last two years of high school. She credits a biology instructor with sparking her interest in exploring professions in the health sciences.
“She was one of the main mentors who I discussed my future career options with,” Eberwien said. “After discovering my interest in radiation sciences, she was there to help me research the different career options with the degree that I would potentially earn.”
Her interest in clinical radiation sciences drew Eberwien to VCU, one of the few schools in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree in the discipline. She learned about the VCU Acceleration program during an event for accepted students at the university where she heard previous students talking about the program.
“The biggest thing that struck me was the unique connections that previous students said they made through the program,” Eberwien said. “Coming to a big university intimidated me because I didn’t know anyone and I definitely didn’t know the campus or the city at all.”
Once accepted to the Acceleration program, she began her journey to apply to the clinical radiation sciences program in the School of Allied Health Professions, where she met faculty and staff administrators of the program, as well as current students.
“I met another Acceleration student who was a current student in the clinical radiation sciences program,” Eberwien remembered. “She had inside information, from a student’s perspective, about the program. She was the one who actually told me about the three different modalities in the program. I was surprised because like most people, I thought the major was straightforward. I wasn’t expecting to have three different modalities to choose from!”
Eberwien applied to the clinical radiation sciences program at the end of her freshman year of college, and was admitted to start the program during the fall semester of her junior year. She spent the summer of 2013 in clinical rotations and on a trip to China that gave her the opportunity to view the health care system in another country.
Now in the beginning of her junior year, Eberwien is expected to graduate in the spring of 2015 and begin her journey as a practicing health professional.