Philiatros organization works to educate students, create connections for post-graduate careers

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To provide medical-related majors with information about mission and networking opportunities, the Oklahoma Christian University Philiatros organization works to prepare its members for graduate school.

Philiatros President Hartley Russell joined the organization her freshman year, after hearing about Philiatros from the upperclassmen in her biology major. She said she continued attending meetings because it was a great place to get advice and make friends with both upperclassmen and students in her class.

“It is really focused on forming relationships between students, educating them on topics in the health field and creating connections that allow them to be more equipped to their post-graduate careers,” Russell said. “I think this is important because it can be easy to be passive and expect life to give you answers, but more often than not, we are in charge of figuring things out.”

The organization hosts a variety of events on campus each year, including student and medical mission panels, a banquet in the spring celebrating the College of Nursing and Health Sciences seniors, science jeopardy night and a host of guest speakers from medical schools, nursing schools and other health science organizations.

“We have Dr. Vanwagoner, a previous OC professor, coming Nov. 27 to talk about healthcare in Oklahoma,” Russell said. “He really opens your eyes to some of the major problems currently going on, and I love seeing other students be challenged on how they could aid this situation in their future careers. We will also be hosting a graduate student panel in the spring for students to get an insight into what it is like to be a graduate student in the healthcare field, as well as how to prepare themselves for graduate school.”

According to Vice President David Walden, he believes the organization is beneficial because it helps underclassmen hear from experienced students who can share their knowledge and help them get through such a “tough health sciences program.”

“It is important for students to get out there and have some experience in what they want to do after they graduate before they walk across the stage, and even before their senior year rolls around,” Walden said. “It is important for people to learn about opportunities and actually do something while they are in college, rather than waiting around until they are in medical school or when they get a job.”

Sophomore Caitlin Young has been a member of the organization for the past three semesters and said she joined because she was a biology major looking for a way to connect with other people in her major.

“The organization was first described to me as one in which underclassmen in the health sciences can get together, eat food and get to know the upperclassmen every other Monday night,” Young said. “Philiatros provides a laid-back environment where underclassmen can feel comfortable and ask the upperclassmen questions about certain classes and just life in general.”

Philiatros meets at 7 p.m. every other Monday in Harold Science Hall 207. Although most members are from the CNHS, all students, especially those interested and wanting to learn more about the medical field, are welcome.

“Philiatros helps students to seek these questions and get answers, whether that is questioning the current state of healthcare in Oklahoma or being connected with graduate students in the healthcare fields who can give them advice on how to succeed,” Russell said. “My vision for Philiatros this year is that we can foster relationships between students and enable them to do their very best during their time here at OC and beyond.”

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