The Commonwealth Medical College - unique in many ways

College Students Make Major Contributions To The Commonwealth Medical College

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Summer internship program promotes careers in biomedical science and medicine
 to improve regional health and economy

Media contact:  Anne Green,
Manager of Marketing Communications
Cell: (570) 909-6220
Office:  (570) 504-9687
[email protected]

Scranton, Pennsylvania – Thirty-nine students from colleges and universities across the county participated in The Commonwealth Medical College’s first summer internship program to acquire the knowledge and skills required in medical education. The eight-week, full-time program offered students the opportunity to work in several fields of study including:  biomedical research, community health, medical education, gross anatomy, facilities and public safety, IT as well as administrative and support departments at the College.

“The goal of the internship program is to provide college students greater opportunities and resources to enhance their educational experience and to promote careers in biomedical science, medicine, and community based health care,” according to John Arnott, PhD,  Program Director and Assistant Professor of Cell Biology at The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC).  Each student was assigned a mentor to oversee the development of a rigorous project that concluded with a nine-minute formal presentation to College leaders, educators and student peers.  “Long-term, our hope is to improve regional health care by fostering the development of the skills needed to sustain emerging biomedical research and community based research projects,” Dr. Arnott continued.

Some of the highlights of the presentations included Mansha Sethi, Scranton native and third-year biology major at Cornell University, who worked with Mariana Garrettson,  MPH, Research Associate in TCMC’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health to plan and facilitate a series of 25 county focus groups to gain an understanding of regional and community health needs and resources.

Amy Sweeney, a sophomore at Princeton University, worked side by side with Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Victor Francone, PhD, in the neuroscience research lab to determine the function of proteins implicated in certain cancers and neurological diseases.  Also in the research lab, Charles Karcutskie, a first-year TCMC medical student, worked on experiments with Assistant Professor Jun Ling, PhD, to publish a research study for developing drug and clinical therapies for infectious diseases and cancer.

Other important contributions included assistance with learning outcomes and portfolio mapping for the MBS curriculum, support for competency assessment in the MD curriculum, and literature reviews that Katy Kveragas, a student in the Masters of Education program at Marywood University developed under the direction of Sue Perlis, EdD, Assistant Dean for Evaluation and Assessment. 

Elizabeth Potorski, a sophomore at the University of Scranton, assisted Cathie McGeehan RN, MSN, EAGeR Study Project Coordinator, to advance the development and awareness of TCMC’s first clinical trial to evaluate the effects of the use of low dose aspirin and folic acid in women who have had a pregnancy loss and wish to become pregnant again.  She also created a brochure on “Pregnancy Nutrition” which will be distributed to the study participants who become pregnant.

“Every presentation was exceptional and I was truly amazed at the significant contributions these college students made to advance the mission and goals of TCMC,” stated Robert D’ Alessandri, MD, President and Dean of The Commonwealth Medical College. “Much of the student’s work will eventually have an impact on treatment and diagnosis of disease and positively impact the regional economy,” Dr. D’ Alessandri added. 
Background Information: The Commonwealth Medical College, one of the nation’s newest medical colleges, welcomed its charter class of sixty-five medical students and Masters of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) students in August 2009. The College has campuses in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport and currently has over 113 full time employees and over 557 clinical faculty members. For the academic years of 2009 and 2010, students will use temporary facilities on the Lackawanna College campus. The Commonwealth Medical College is dedicated to training the next generation of physicians and scientists in a community-based model. Focusing on selecting students with a propensity for community service, the school’s unique structure is designed to provide these students with diverse clinical experiences from the very first day of their education. For information please go to

TCMC has been granted degree-granting authority from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee of Medical Education. The Commonwealth Medical Education Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).