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New director expands Pre-Professional Health Advisory Center

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Dr. Valerie Bennett, left, offers one-on-one advising for students interested in health-related careers. A New Jersey native, Bennett earned a degree in biology from Colgate University in New York and a master’s and doctoral degree from Miami University of Ohio. Visit bradley.edu/go/ht-bennett to view a video interview of Bennett.

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Visit bradley.edu/prehealth and facebook.com/BUPrehealth for more on the Pre-professional Health Advisory Center. 

Introducing hundreds of Bradley’s pre-professional health students to the diversity of health care career opportunities is nothing new to
Dr. Valerie Bennett, the recently appointed director of the University’s Pre-Professional Health Advisory Center. As a biology professor and department chairman at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, she chaired its Pre-Professional Committee for the Healing Arts and served a year as the coordinator for its University Advising Services Center. She has experience helping students navigate the system.

“I look at this office as a resource for any major,” Bennett said. “You don’t have to be a biology or chemistry major to attend medical school. You can major in anything you are passionate about and pursue a career in health care.”

A member of the Northeast and National Associations of Advisors of the Health Professions since 2004, Bennett was elected to the Northeast executive board in 2010. She noted her membership in the professional organization provides a valuable source of information and support, enabling her to bring new ideas and practices to Bradley’s campus.

“I already sense at Bradley an amazing feeling of school pride, commitment, dedication, and loyalty to the University. The alumni come back and help out the next generation of students. I see that as a huge opportunity to be rewarding to me professionally. The nature of my job is getting students to where they want to go. Being able to work with alumni who are already physicians, physical therapists, and in health care fields — that’s what I love about this position. I plan to link into our alumni base to encourage alums to help students out with their goals.”

She is developing an introduction to the health professions course for freshmen, undecided students, and transfer students that she will teach this fall. Bennett also is designing a course in career development in the health professions, targeted at juniors and seniors who plan to apply to medical school or other health professional schools. Seeing herself as a resource for faculty and students alike, she will work with the staff at the Smith Career Center.

“Even in these economic times, heath care is a field that continues to grow,” Bennett added. “It’s a competitive field, and not every student is a good fit for medical school. Maybe it’s going into podiatry or studying to be a physician’s assistant or a chiropractor. Each profession has its own flair. I have a great network with other pre-health advisers and resources from other universities, and I am focused on implementing those resources at Bradley.”

– Karen Crowley Metzinger, MA ’97