HPU graduates are leading prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2022:
Name: Gabrielle Schmale
Hometown: Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Post-graduation plans: Schmale will be attending graduate school at Campbell University to pursue a dual master’s in clinical research and physician assistant practices.
How HPU helped you get there: “As a freshman, I completed the Research Rookies Program and started my introductory biology lab working on gene editing in Zebrafish. The small class size and early hands-on opportunities, like summer research, allowed me to gain unique skills that defined my interest. Amazing mentors also went above and beyond to help me access resources that would further my academic and personal growth. The Honors Scholar Program provided me a holistic education and practice assessing problems in multiple disciplines. The experiences, resources and unique perspectives helped set my graduate school application apart. The Office of Career and Professional Development was also a lifeline resource! Their team reviewed my scholarship essay, personal statement, supplemental essays, resume and CV. Through the process, I could see revisions and learn why they were being made. I also utilized the in-person and online interview preparation resources before PA school interviews which was extremely helpful!”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “Dr. Robert Coover, assistant professor of basic pharmaceutical sciences, has not only been my most impactful mentor at HPU, but in all my academic career. He taught me a myriad of advanced laboratory skills and helped develop my thinking as a scientist. I entered his lab timid, afraid to ask questions and knowing practically nothing about molecular biology. Over time, he gave me the confidence to perform in any lab and helped me solidify my pursuit of a master’s in clinical research. Beyond this, Dr. Coover is a role model who cares about students’ academic and personal well-being. I can confidently say he inspired me to be a better scientist, student and community member.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “My most impactful moment at HPU was joining Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity on campus. I rushed my freshman year and have been an active brother since. Through this organization, I devoted hundreds of community service hours and made lifelong friends. I loved working within the community through Habitat for Humanity builds. I used my free time at HPU to make someone else’s life better while making lifelong memories. The diversity, generosity and dedication within the Mu Xi chapter provided me with more than I thought possible.”
How has HPU’s inspiring environment contributed to your success? “One reason so many students succeed at HPU is the availability of resources. Being a first-generation student, the graduate school application process seemed daunting. By using my mentors, advisors, the writing center, the Office of Career and Professional Development and counseling services, I could navigate and cope with the process. The staff at HPU care about your success and will do all they can if you’re lost or in need! The network of alumni was also a huge bonus. I reached out to multiple pre-PA alumni who offered me application and interview advice.”
What are the life skills HPU helped you develop that prepared you for long-term success? “Almost all HPU professors have an open-door policy. This helped me learn to effectively communicate and advocate within academics. I also learned how to convey my work professionally by presenting at national and local conferences. My favorite skills that I’ve learned were in the Coover Lab! From cell splitting, to transfections, PCR and western blots, the lab is an exploratory place that challenged me to evolve as a scientist. This mindset also translates to how I perceive data and construct my own experiments. I not only learned the hard and soft skills to succeed, but the ethics and responsibilities behind them.”
What are the values and virtues HPU’s campus helped you develop that you’ll take with you after graduation? “Over these past four years, I learned to put my best foot forward. I have grown tremendously as a scientist and as a participating citizen. I am prepared to face adversity and will always have the family I made at HPU to support me. The motto of presenting yourself as the best version of yourself and continually trying to succeed, regardless of challenges, is at the forefront of HPU. It seems silly, and I’ve mocked it myself many times, but learning to fail gracefully and to get back up again is one of the biggest accomplishments I will take with me long past HPU.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Use this time to explore and find your passions. Once you uncover what makes you happy, find a mentor who shows you what you enjoy can be found in the work force. There is no rush or set timeline for this, so try to honor yourself along the way by slowing down, learning new things and intentionally incorporating time for fun.”
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