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photo of stethoscope
photo of stethoscope
  • March 30, 2020
  • Roger Coda

There’s a new twist to practice interviews conducted every year by the Fredonia Health Professions Advising Committee for students who will be applying to health professional schools.

Like classroom instruction that resumed this week, these sessions were done online.

Interviews are usually held in the Science Center’s Gavin Aerie, but with the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, they were conducted on Google Meet, said Department of Biology Professor Ted Lee. Four students were interviewed in the first round on Tuesday, March 24.

The Health Professions Advising Committee conducts interviews every year with Fredonia students who will be applying to medical, dental, optometry or veterinary schools in the summer. “The goal of the interviews is to give feedback to students before they begin the application process and for the students to gain interview practice in a familiar setting,” said Dr. Lee, who also chairs the Health Professions Advising Committee.

Lee indicated the online format worked very well for the interviews.

Zachary Bogosian, a junior Biology major from Silver Creek on track to apply to optometry schools this summer, concurred with Lee’s assessment.

“As far as Tuesday’s online interview is concerned, I think that the format worked quite well. The technology functioned as it was supposed to, and I was able to see and hear each of the professors when they chose to talk and they could see and hear me as well throughout the duration of the interview.”

An unexpected advantage, Mr. Bogosian noted, was the ability to type comments or questions into the feed while another person is talking, resulting in a polite way to get one’s idea on the table without interrupting the current conversation. Nuances of speech or body language, though, were not present.

“Being in the same physical space is obviously the optimal way to fully communicate, but the online format used Tuesday is far superior to phone calls or worse, email/text,” Bogosian said.

Gabriella Dierna, a junior Biology major Rochester, N.Y., found the online interview format a little different, “but once I got all set up it worked very well.”

Seeing everyone in a video conference was great, Ms. Dierna said, “instead of just hearing their voices or emailing them since it was like having a normal conversation face-to-face.” She was glad the committee was able to find an alternative way to hold these interviews, since advising sessions and committee interviews are very important to the pre-health students. Dierna plans to apply to dental schools this summer.

Members of the interview committee working from their school office or home included: Emeritus Professor of Anthropology Joy Bilharz, Engagement and Career Development Director Tracy Collingwood, Department of Psychology Associate Professor Catherine Creeley, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Associate Professor Mark Janik, Department of Biology Associate Professor  Scott Medler and Lee.

Students who complete the interviews can request a committee letter of recommendation for their profession school applications. Interviews for additional students will be scheduled.