‘I could really see myself here at VCU’

A health sciences summer pipeline program offers undergrads from across the country a six-week slice of life as a graduate health professional student — and connections to last a lifetime.

Cheryl Ford-Smith, D.P.T., demonstrates a reflexology exam over Zoom on Kaylah Beharrie, a second-year VCU physical therapy student and 2019 Summer Academic Enrichment Program graduate, in a classroom at VCU College of Health Professions. (Tom Kojcsich, University Relations)
Image by Tom Kojcsich, University Relations

As director of special programs for student recruitment and retention and a professor emeritus in the Department of Physical Therapy at the VCU College of Health Professions, Dr. Cheryl Ford-Smith created a physical therapy-focused high school program in the 2000s and was used to managing every aspect of a pipeline program, from recruitment to education of participants. When VCU established the Division for Health Sciences Diversity and its pipeline programs, Ford-Smith could put her focus back on what she does best: establishing relationships with pre-health students and educating them about the profession and VCU’s program.

Read more about student experiences at the Summer Academic Enrichment Program.

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