Health Professions

Annalisa (DeBacco) Overstreet, a Religion major in the Class of 2002, enrolled at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA, in the fall of 2003. After her graduation from medical school in 2007, she began a residency program at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Annalisa is currently a third year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She expresses the impact of her Religion major on her medical career in these words:

My Religion major provided me with a strong background in biomedical ethical issues. It also gave me an appreciation for different cultural and religious perspectives on health care issues, such as death and dying, complimentary and alternative health care, and the role of family and religion in health care decision-making.”

Carin Goodall Rogosky, who graduated from Gettysburg College as a Religion major in 2004, entered the PeaceCorps in April of 2005 and worked in a small town in Bulgaria for two years. There she was an English (TEFL) Instructor, teaching English and health to high school students. She also became very involved with the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee. When she returned to the States, Carin enrolled in the Accelerated Nursing Program at The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, from which she graduated in July of 2009. She is a pediatric nurse and works on a medical-surgical unit for school-aged children as well as the pediatric burn unit at The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Teaching is Carin’s passion, and as a pediatric nurse she can both educate and clinically provide care for her patients. As she reflects upon her Religion major, she says:

First and foremost, being a religion major widened my perspective and reminded me to be open-minded at all times. The course of study introduced me to new cultures, new religions, and new ways of thinking about and perceiving the world. There is no one way to understand the meaning of our immediate surroundings or the world in all its grandiosity. I learned to respect and appreciate the religions, cultures, and people's of the world through their religious texts and documented experiences through history. In Bulgaria, my background as a religion major reminded me to step back and listen a moment to every person I met along my Balkan journey. Their experiences of the world were influenced by religious texts and history very different than my own, and I was fascinated to learn how a culture could be shaped by this. As a Registered Nurse, I must set aside my own beliefs and values and make an effort to respect the values of my patient. I may not agree with every perspective I encounter, but my relationships with patients and individuals of cultures and religions very different from my own never suffer because I have learned to take a moment to take into consideration another point of view.”

James Barra worked in a dental lab, took graduate courses at Shippensburg University, and participated in a medical mission to Peru, after he graduated from Gettysburg College in 2007. James is currently enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine where he is studying to become a dentist. He explains the value of his undergraduate Religion major in the following words:

I view the religion major as the most instrumental piece of my academic history in determining my future. The vast majority of students that attend an interview for a health professional school majored in Biology. Basic science courses are absolutely essential (and great at Gettysburg College as well), but not one interviewer asked me how majoring in biology would affect my dental education. Every interviewer with whom I spoke asked about my religion major, and one went so far as to say “this sets you apart. If you get in here, this will be why.” My response to all of them was that it added perspective. The religion major necessarily exposes the student to unique histories, cultures, and beliefs. It promotes openness and compassion through rigorous study rather than fluff...Having multiple unrelated interests often adds needed variety to a schedule and can enhance one's candidacy for a position in a difficult job market.”