Honor graduate off to Yale School of Medicine
A hospital experience as an 11-year-old in his native Venezuela sparked a life’s calling in Manuel Gutierrez that he’s carried onward as a high school exchange student to Bloomsburg and eventually Yale starting this summer.
Gutierrez, a pre-med major and this fall’s honor graduate for Commonwealth University’s College of Science and Technology, has been inspired to practice medicine since seeing first-hand the chaotic scene of the emergency response to his grandfather’s heart attack a decade ago.
“I accompanied him along with my mom to the ER where I noticed a large number of people waiting to be taken care of because (it) was understaffed and underequipped,” Gutierrez said. “So essentially the crisis that Venezuela was — and still is facing today — was what propelled me to choose medicine as a way to serve people and alleviate their burden.”
That moment stuck with Gutierrez, and the motivation to help the ailing kept him on track through Rotary Youth Exchange International program to North Schuylkill High School, learning English, and now through Bloomsburg’s pre-medical science studies certificate program.
Gutierrez’s next step is the Yale School of Medicine, where in August he’ll begin graduate studies in its physician associate program.
“Definitely being part of a small faculty-to-student ratio has helped me tremendously, because I’ve gotten to know my professors more,” Gutierrez said. “It was through the faculty that I had great opportunities, such as healthcare practicums, student employment, grants, scholarships, letters of recommendation, research, and mentorship.”
Bloomsburg’s school size was a big asset to Gutierrez’s professional school pursuit.
“Usually in bigger colleges, one can have a hard time getting to know their professors, hence one could miss a lot of opportunities,” Gutierrez said. “The fact that (Bloomsburg) professors are the only ones who teach their classes and hold office hours in comparison to other schools that have grad students doing so. Also, most of my professors in the chemistry and biochemistry department are very open to helping you in any way they can whether that's through email, coming to office hours, Zoom meetings, etc.”
In fact, his first job offer as a lab analyst for a food quality control company can be directly attributed to his relationship with Bloomsburg faculty and experience from its pre-med program.
“I got this position because of a lot of the skills I learned doing (melanoma) cancer research with Dr. (Mike) Borland and other classes I took, such as microbiology and cell biology” Gutierrez said. “One lasting impression that Bloomsburg has had on me was their generosity, especially, the University Foundation (Student Advanced Housing),” Gutierrez said. “Denise Stone helped me these past three semesters with my housing, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Not to sound dramatic but if it was not for her, I’m not sure if I would’ve continued my career in Bloomsburg because as an international student, school funding can be very limited.”
He added, “So for me, Bloomsburg made me realize that times can be tough — perhaps money is tight, or school is burdensome — but there’s somebody who’s always willing to help you as long as you put in the work, show commitment, and behave kindly.”