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Program Team Bios

The Pre-Health Programs team is made up of dedicated professionals with significant healthcare, life science research and higher education experience. At Penn, we’ve designed a program that ensures you will benefit from the full team’s diversity of healthcare and pre-health backgrounds as well as their powerful professional networks.

  • Director

    Jackie McLaughlin is a Registered Dietitian with 20 years of professional experience in clinical and public health nutrition and eight years of management experience in academic affairs. She received her BA in Sociology with a concentration in Social Work from LaSalle University and her MS in Clinical Nutrition from Drexel University. Her professional practice has focused on nutritional health issues facing women and children living in poverty. Jackie has extensive experience spanning provision of clinical services, program development and evaluation, health advocacy and nutrition policy initiatives, research and teaching.

    Prior to her role as Director of Pre-Health Programs, Jackie was Associate Director for the Master of Public Health program at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Her recent community service activities include membership on the Board of Directors for the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia, participation on an Advisory Board for a Kellogg Foundation First Food project designed to support breast-feeding and serving as a peer reviewer for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Jackie is also a member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and the Northeast Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.

    Jackie is particularly interested in continuing to expand the Pre-Health Program’s networks for shadowing and research experiences, developing new linkage partnerships and assuring delivery of an excellent curriculum designed to meet our students’ educational and professional goals.

  • Senior Advisor

    Danielle Lever came to Penn in October 2010 as the Advisor for Pre-Health Programs. She works with both Core Studies and Specialized Studies students, providing support in academic and career advising, committee letter writing, planning and delivery of special workshops/events, building a robust student community and many other duties to benefit the success of our Pre-Health Programs students.

    Danielle has found that one of the most rewarding aspects of working with Pre-Health Programs students is helping them through the transition of the Pre-Health Programs and preparing them for their professional school career in the healthcare field. Our students’ strong desire to help others is a source of inspiration for Danielle as she works to help them reach their goals and realize their full potential. As an advisor, she truly enjoys forming a connection with the students that allows her to be available throughout the year to help them move forward in the program.

    Before joining Penn, Danielle served as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Thomas Jefferson University, School of Nursing and School of Health Professions and brings with her more than three years of experience in college admissions, recruitment and enrollment management. Danielle’s experience with college admissions, specifically in healthcare professions, has helped her understand the needs and concerns of Pre-Health Programs students at Penn.

    In 2010, Danielle received her Master of Science in Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs, which is a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational program, from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Danielle also attended West Chester University for her undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2005.

  • Biology Lecturer and Advisor

    Lisa Witmer joined the Pre-Health Program in 2005 as a lecturer and advisor. She is responsible for teaching Introductory Biology and upper-level biology courses to Core Studies and Specialized Studies students. In addition, she is involved in recruiting prospective students and providing academic, application and career advising to Post-Bacc Pre-Health students.

    Lisa earned her PhD in Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2000. She did her postdoctoral training at Purdue University where she conducted research on molecular characterization of origin recognition complex (ORC) involved in DNA replication in maize. She joined Dr. Robert Wilson’s lab at Penn in 2002 where she conducted research on identification of anticancer drug targets using synthetic lethal analysis in yeast.

    With more than five years of teaching, Lisa has a strong passion for teaching and is committed to students' learning. She has more than five years of teaching experience at Penn. She has taught Introductory Biology (BIOL 101 and BIOL 102), Cell Biology and Biochemistry (BIOL 202), and Molecular Biology and Genetics (BIOL 221).  She currently teaches Advanced Cell Biology (BIOL 480) and Essentials of Vertebrate Physiology (BIOL 213).

    Lisa also has a strong passion for advising and a commitment to critically analyzing Pre-Health students' academic backgrounds, in order to develop highly individualized plans of study designed to help accomplish their goals at Penn. Over the years she has helped numerous students successfully enter professional health schools.

  • Program Coordinator

    Claire started at Penn LPS in 2007 as an Admissions Specialist and joined the Pre-Health team as Program Coordinator in 2011. Claire graduated from the New School in 2001 with a BA in Literary Studies and is enrolled at Penn’s Graduate School of Education in hopeful pursuit of an MSEd in Higher Education.

Experience Is Essential

Health Professions Experience

Penn has numerous opportunities for volunteering, community service, shadowing and research experiences in healthcare.

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Application Deadline: November 1st

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Hear from our Alumni

Hear from our Alumni

Read about our recent alumni's experiences in the program, and see what they are doing now.

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