Pre-Health Bootcamp a hit for second consecutive year

Pre-Health Bootcamp group

For the second consecutive year, the College to Career Center and Office of Pre-Health Programs teamed up to organize a Pre-Health Bootcamp for students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare.


Thirteen students participated in the Bootcamp from January 9-11, which provided the opportunity for students to have a better understanding of the rigor of professional school, receive test prep and interview preparation, to tour two different hospitals, and network with peers, faculty, advisors, and healthcare professionals.


Sarah Begay, associate director of the College to Career Center and Melissa Clouse, director of Pre-Health Programs worked together to organize the event.


“The Pre-Health Bootcamp was developed as the university saw an opportunity to assist students pursuing health careers to be successful in not only selecting the right career, but also in knowing what schools look for and how to complete their applications,” Begay said. “In the past we have held a Health Careers Week and a Health Careers Day, but found the timing was challenging and it was hard competing with classes and other obligations. We offer Bootcamp right before spring semester classes begin.”


The majority of students who participated are sophomores or juniors and are interested in a variety of fields, including pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-physical therapy, pre-physician assistant, and pre-athletic training.


Students were able to sit in on Q&A sessions with a number of professionals from Crete Area Medical Center, tour CAMC and CHI Immanuel in Omaha, work on test prep, personal statements, and interviewing skills, and get hands-on work with Doane Head Athletic Trainer Greg Seier and Amanda McKinney, executive director of the Institute for Human and Planetary Health.


Brandon Gannon ’20, a junior biology major interested in physical therapy, was one student who participated in the Bootcamp.


“We talked a lot about the process of getting into professional school which was very helpful,” Gannon said. “We covered a lot of the steps we should be taking now to prepare us for the application process and what it takes to get through professional school. I know a lot more about the process and feel more prepared.”


Another component to the Bootcamp was being transparent about the cost of professional school and how to prepare for and manage loans, which was well-received by the students. Gannon said that although it “can be daunting to think about,” the discussion around the financial component of professional school was one of his biggest takeaways of the three day experience.


“During the bootcamp we are not addressing course content,” Clouse explained. “We focus on the students understanding themselves -- their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations for seeking a career in healthcare. It’s a lot of information that we’re trying to pull in but we want to give them practical tools for the students to use in their pursuit.”


Clouse and Begay were quick to thank Rebekah Mussman, CEO at Crete Area Medical Center, for the hospital’s support of the bootcamp and their willingness to have professionals take time out to meet with Doane students. Another great benefit for students in the bootcamp was that it came at no cost, with all meals being covered. Students who participated were allowed to return to the dorms ahead of the start of the spring semester the following week.


“Our students are incredibly involved on campus and have tight schedules,” Clouse said. “They have a lot of demands with school and outside activities during the semester. I wish that we could have multiple weeks with the students, but I was impressed with how the students are willing to give up some of their vacation time to come back early to think about their future.”


Of the 21 students who participated in the bootcamp last year, a number of upperclassmen were either admitted to post-secondary school or are in the process of being admitted this year.


For more information on Doane’s Pre-Health program, visit the program page at