Oskaloosa.com

May 17, 2013

The many paths to walk in health, life sciences at Penn

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — There are many paths for students to take at William Penn University when it comes to the Health and Life Sciences Division.

Within this division, there has been considerable growth. Dr. Jim North, chair of the division, noted that health and life sciences students at Penn have grown by around 8 percent per year for the past 8 years.

North explained the routes students can take within the health and life sciences division at Penn.

“On the life sciences side of the division, we offer a degree in biology,” he said. “Within that degree in biology, students choose different tracks. They can get a general biology emphasis.

They can go into environmental studies. They can hit up pre-professional studies or they can, in conjunction with Indian Hills (Community College), get a bioprocess technology biology degree.”

North’s division also covers health, of course. Penn’s Web site outlines the four areas of emphases available on this side of his division at Penn. Students can pursue emphases in sports and recreation, sports administration, strength and conditioning, as well as health education and physical education.

One of the biggest aspects of teaching health and life sciences at Penn is the idea of hands-on learning. North said that the low student to faculty ratio at Penn plays an important part in this kind of learning. This includes learning both on and off campus.

“We get to know the students pretty well,” said North. “They get to know us pretty well. And, if there is a lab experiment or a demonstration or a some external experience, we go and do it. That’s the flexibility that we have.”

Internships are also key for health and life sciences students at Penn. He said some students are required to take internships, while many others simply obtain them anyway. Practicum projects are also integral within the health and life sciences division at Penn, added North.

Technology plays an important role for health and life sciences students. North pointed to the widely available Internet access on Penn’s campus as one example of beneficial technology on hand.

Within the health and sciences division at Penn, most students go on to graduate school of some kind or they work in a position that uses their skills, noted North. He provided one example of a career some students choose after graduation.

“In the environmental sciences, students tend to become park rangers,” North said.

Students have also gone on to graduate school in fields such as ophthalmology, dentistry, medicine and osteopathy, said North.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.