Starting in August, the UCF College of Medicine and Valencia College will offer a combined 2+2 program that will allow students to graduate with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (B.S.) degree and expand the college’s training into Osceola County.
Students will take their four years of courses at the UCF-Valencia Osceola campus in Kissimmee. The first two years will be taught by Valencia faculty; the last two will be taught by faculty from the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences who will travel to Osceola. The program marks the first time biomedical sciences is being taught at a UCF regional campus.
“We have a large number of very talented and dedicated students in Osceola County, many of whom are interested in studying math or science. However, access to higher education can present a challenge, particularly for students who live in areas such as Poinciana or Harmony,” said Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola Campus. “As we at Valencia continue working to increase access to higher education in Osceola County, the B.S. in Biomedical Sciences was at the top of our wish list — it is the type of degree program that we hope to offer our students at Valencia’s Osceola Campus. We are so grateful to have such terrific partners in UCF, who were willing to make this opportunity available to our community.”
At Valencia during the first semester, students may enroll in General Microbiology, Human Physiology, Neurobiology, and/or Overview of Selected Medical Careers. The spring semester course offerings include Quantitative Biological Methods, Human Anatomy, and Immunology. These courses will also be open to main UCF campus students who live close to Valencia Osceola campus.
The partnership program focuses on the integrative scientific study of health and medicine and is designed to train more local students for healthcare jobs in the 21st century. Students will train with state-of-the-art scientific equipment, participate in cutting-edge undergraduate research projects and receive career advice from the Burnett School’s Pre-Health Professions Advisement Office.
“We are delighted to begin this collaboration with Valencia,” said Dr. Richard Peppler, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and interim director of the Burnett School. “This program expands our educational training into Osceola County, one of Central Florida’s fastest-growing and most diverse communities.”
Peppler said successful graduates of this program will be qualified to enter research and development positions or continue their education in graduate programs and four-year professional schools such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary. The 2+2 program meets all admissions requirements for medical and health professional schools.
Dr. Robert Borgon, a Burnett School assistant professor and award-winning teacher, is one of the faculty members in the new program. “It’s always great to expand our knowledge and resources to as many people as we can,” he said, noting that the program offerings will be flexible to prepare students for a variety of careers depending on their personal interests.
One of the first courses offered with be an overview of medical careers that includes nine different areas in medicine alone in addition to biomedical research and other scientific opportunities. “This program will prepare students for whatever they want to do,” Borgon said, noting how much opportunities in science and medicine have expanded with the emergence of Lake Nona’s Medical City.