Inverhuron resident selected to attend elite undergrad medical school



By Barb McKay


Katrina Jaszkul has known for some time that she would pursue a career in medicine. Now, the Inverhuron girl will receive an educational opportunity afforded to only a select few exceptional Canadian students.


Katrina, a Grade 12 student at Sacred Heart High School, learned this month that she has been accepted into Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) this fall. The program is the only admission fast track of its kind, where high school students are able to enter medical school after just two years of undergraduate study at Queen’s University – half the regular study length. QuARMS selects just 10 students from across Canada each year out of approximately 1,000 applicants and candidates must be Chancellor’s Scholarship nominees.


Katrina is the first student in Bruce County to be admitted to QuARMS. She learned about the undergrad program from the son of a family friend who is attending medical school in the United States.


“We talked about it and so I looked it up,” Katrina said. “I was really excited about it so I applied. It removes a couple of years and it gives assurance that I’ll get into medical school.”


The student is no stranger to the field of medicine, in a number of areas. She has logged some 375 hours in the emergency department at the Kincardine hospital, where she took her high school co-op last year, and the Walkerton hospital where she currently volunteers.


In Kincardine, Katrina said, she spent her time shadowing ER doctors and nurses and learned valuable skills such as checking vitals. In Walkerton, she has volunteered in the day surgery department, ambulatory care and, currently, diagnostic imaging.


“I love what I’m doing because I get direct patient contact and it has given me the skills I will need as a physician,” she said, adding that all the doctors she has shadowed through her co-op placement and volunteerism have been very supportive.


Aside from being nominated for the Chancellor’s Scholarship, students who are considered for entry into the fast=tracked undergrad program must have a 90 per cent average in their final year of high school and must demonstrate skills and traits including exceptional leadership, curiosity, maturity, ability to relate to people and humanitarianism. The students who are chosen must stand out from the rest.


“Everyone who gets in doesn’t really know exactly how they got in,” Katrina said, but assumes her hospital experience is a factor.


Katrina said the 10 students who will be enrolled at Queen’s University in September will meet weekly online to do a web module.


“It’ will be great to interact with like-minded people,” she said. “I think my first year will be very exciting academically and socially.”


Katrina plans to continue volunteering through the summer at Kincardine and Walkerton hospitals.