Akosua Adu '25

Akosua Adu '25

Over the summer, Akosua Adu, a sophomore Health Sciences Pre-Professional student in the College of ENHP, was selected to participate in the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), an enrichment program for students underrepresented in the health professions, including students of color and those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. She was encouraged to apply by Claudia Oakes, associate professor of health sciences.

Akosua’s program initially started over Zoom for two weeks, but the last four weeks were located in Pomona, Calif., at Western University of Health Sciences, an osteopathic medical school and health sciences university. She resided with other students at Pitzer College in Claremont. 

Some of Akosua’s most memorable parts of the program were being able to learn beside other people of color from around the country with a common goal of pursuing a career as a health professional. On one occasion, a trauma surgeon from the U.S. Army came to run a session and teach how to suture. “She treated the session as if it was a boot camp. It was high pressure but a comical and lighthearted experience as well,” Akosua said.

Another memorable part was Akosua’s experience in the cadaver lab. She was able to hold a human brain, heart, kidney, and even the smallest bone in the human body called the stapes. Akosua said that it was amazing to see everything she would read in a textbook up close and personal. 

“The program helped me as I prepare to eventually go to medical school by informing me of the realities of the rigor of classes and material," Akosua said. "Our teaching assistants, who are medical students at the university, were very real about their experiences as students. For example, when we went over identifying obstructed breathing sounds for a session one day, some of the TA's let us know that they struggled so much their first year of medical school to be able to decipher the different noises."

Akosua’s favorite part of the program was the closing ceremony. The students were recognized for their hard work and reminded that they are all capable of becoming medical professionals, even if they are seen as disadvantaged because of their socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicities. “It was the most beautiful thing to see how much we learned and accomplished throughout those six weeks at SHPEP,” she added.

The program helped me as I prepare to eventually go to medical school by informing me of the realities of the rigor of classes and material."

Akosua Adu '25, College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions