Rudman Foundation Grant Helps Prepare Top Masterman and Central High School Students for Medical Careers

Photo of high school students at Mini-Med Discovery Days
Students from Masterman and Central High School during "Mini-Med Discovery Days." Pictured from left to right are Fran Jean, Thomas Eiler, Rohit Thaiparambil, Joshua Abraham and Tristy Paulose

Five students from Julia R. Masterman High School and Central High are receiving a once-in-a-lifetime summer experience, and summer education, through Drexel University’s “Mini-Med Discovery Days” program, offered through a grant from the Kal & Lucille Rudman Foundation.

The scholarship for the Masterman students is given in the name of Jenne Ayers, daughter of former Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, and a Masterman graduate. Kal Rudman, a graduate of Central High School, offers this scholarship in support of his alma mater. Rudman was named Honorary Fire Commissioner under Ayers, a badge of honor the philanthropist continues to proudly wear.

From Aug. 10 to Aug. 26, these hardworking junior and senior high school students have been observing the workday schedules and activities of Drexel University’s College of Medicine physicians in their Center City outpatient offices, and at Hahnemann University Hospital. The students learn all of the ins and outs of the medical career during intense daylong sessions in the endoscopy unit, operating rooms and other clinical settings.

For most high school students interested in a medical career, they know they have a long four years of undergraduate education, and then face another four years in medical school. The annual “Mini-Med Discovery Days” program gives some of these students an early glimpse into the life and career of physicians.

Joshua Abraham, a senior at Julia R. Masterman High School, credits this early introduction to the medical career as one of the reasons he applied for the program."

"The life of a doctor has always intrigued me, and my desire to become one only fueled this discovery,” said Abraham. “The program will finally allow me to satisfy my thirst and teach me the fundamental steps to becoming a doctor."

First introduced to the program from a guidance counselor at his high school, Abraham wanted to have a better understanding of the vast medical field, as well as relevant experience on his resume, when applying to colleges.

Abraham and the other students spent their first week in the program shadowing doctors involved in ambulatory care, working with outpatients coming in for checkups for oncology and orthopedic services. The next week, the students got a glimpse of the life and work of a surgeon in operating rooms, witnessing a hip replacement, open-heart surgery and an amputation, among other procedures.

“Some of the doctors would explain what was happening to us or walk us through the process,” Abraham said. “It was exhilarating!”

Because of the program, Abraham has developed a closer interest in the field of anesthesiology, which he had never looked into as a possible career path.

“I didn’t really know or think about how much it can really do to help a patient,” he said. 

Another important lesson Abraham learned was how much of an impact a doctor can have on a patient’s life.

“Doctors aren’t just there to help a patient’s body. They can help with the mind and the heart too,” he said.

Because of everything he learned and experienced in the program, Abraham still plans on embarking on a medical school path and is planning to apply to several local universities, including Drexel, this fall.

Over 52 students have participated in this program since 2008, with many continuing their journey to become a physician — much like Abraham plans to do. This year marks the seventh time Drexel has hosted “Mini-Med Discovery Days” through funding from the Kal & Lucille Rudman Foundation. The Rudmans believe strongly in the importance of education and of having various opportunities available to all.