For Incoming Students Interested in Health Professions, Muhlenberg’s Cooperative Programs Offer an Edge

While the programs allow students to save a year of time and tuition, these three young alumnae’s success stories—in three different fields—prove that’s not the only advantage.

By: Meghan Kita  Tuesday, February 13, 2018 03:02 PM

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Tina Chou ’13, Adora Goldovsky ’15 and Becca Noyovitz ’15 all earned their advanced degrees a year earlier than they would have if they hadn’t completed one of Muhlenberg’s cooperative programs. Photos courtesy Chou, Goldovsky and Noyovitz.

Tina Chou ’13, Adora Goldovsky ’15 and Becca Noyovitz ’15 may not seem to have much in common beyond their interest in health professions. Chou, who was a biology major and studio art minor at Muhlenberg, is wrapping up an endodontics residency program—that’s a root-canal specialty—at Tufts University. Goldovsky, who was a dance major, works as an outpatient physical therapist at Moss Rehab/Einstein Hospital in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. And Noyovitz, who was a psychology major, is an occupational therapist at Boston’s Carney Hospital.

However, all three of them earned their advanced degrees a year earlier than they would have if they hadn’t completed one of Muhlenberg’s cooperative programs. Their programs each involved spending three years at Muhlenberg before moving on, Chou to the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and Goldovsky and Noyovitz to Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson College of Health Professions.

“Being able to get the rigorous science opportunities here at Muhlenberg in addition to having the liberal arts experience is something that's very attractive to incoming students,” says Danielle Auerbach ’14, assistant director of admissions. “In dentistry or physical therapy, for example, the science background is really important, but so is knowing how to communicate, write and think critically when working with patients. You develop those skills through our liberal arts education. Students are able to excel when they have the skill set that Muhlenberg helps teach.”

First-year students who matriculate through and complete these programs tend to feel confident in their long-term career visions. Chou, who attended a health-specific magnet high school, found dentistry through the “externship” opportunities offered there. Goldovsky knew she wanted to be a physical therapist after seeing one for her own ballet injuries as a teenager. And Noyovitz, who originally thought she wanted to work with children with special needs, shadowed occupational therapists working with that population before applying.

Muhlenberg’s small environment helped Chou excel when she began at her Ivy-League dental school: “The class sizes at Muhlenberg are really intimate, and when you have that access to professors, you learn how to communicate with faculty better,” she says. “At Penn, our classes were big all the time. When I had questions, I didn’t feel shy to seek out faculty during their office hours. That’s important so you don’t get lost at dental school.”

And Noyovitz felt the classes she took at Muhlenberg prepared her well for her first year at Jefferson. She credits the psychology department with helping her learn to interpret and utilize research, and she recalls the Comparative Anatomy course she took with biology lecturer Mary Byrne as being especially helpful: “I really honed my study techniques in taking that course,” she says. “A lot of the other first-year students at Jefferson really struggled with anatomy and physiology courses. I felt like I did really well because of the preparation I had at Muhlenberg.”