The Health Professional Student Association Student Advisory Council today announced the awardees of their Advisor of the Year recognition. The 2024 awardees are:

  • Public University: James Wasco, MD, Lead Medical School and Health Careers Advisor in the Michigan Athletics Career Center, University of Michigan
  • Private University: Chloe Lash, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of St. Francis

The announcement was made online and at the National Association of Advisors of the Health Professions National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

2024 Public University Advisor of the Year

James Wasco, MD, University of Michigan, Pre-Medical and Health Professions Advising at the Michigan Athletics Career Center

Dr. Wasco is a career Emergency Physician, with 40 years of clinical and administrative experience in community and teaching hospitals in Massachusetts. He served as Emergency Department Director and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, North Shore Medical Center, and retired as Senior Vice Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, a teaching hospital of the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. He has been the Assistant to the Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Medical Director for regional EMS providers, and President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. With a strong interest in health communications, he served for 10 years as Contributing Editor and Health Columnist for Woman’s Day Magazine, and medical reporter/on-air television commentator for Westinghouse Broadcasting with a 100-station national syndication on the program PM Magazine. Dr. Wasco has also served as a medical advisor for several start-up companies.

After serving a term as national president of the University of Michigan Medical Center Alumni Society, Dr. Wasco became interested in medical school admissions and was invited to join the Medical School’s Admissions Committee. A current active committee member for 20 years, he has reviewed thousands of medical school applications and interviewed hundreds of medical school candidates. Recognizing the strong competencies of college student-athletes who are also high-performing scholars, he founded and leads “The Doctor Is In” and M.A.T.C.H. (Michigan Athletes Towards Careers in Health Care), programs at the Michigan Athletics Career Center. In the past 13 years, the program has mentored over 250 student-athletes in preparation for medical school and other postgraduate health careers with in-office and online counseling sessions including resume and personal statement review, medical career information, time management, leadership training, and volunteer, research and clinical experiences to supplement their applications. Working with these two programs is a volunteer effort, but enables him to follow his medical admissions passion by helping prospective medical students to understand and communicate their strengths and find the right fit for their future education. In 2019 Dr. Wasco joined Kaplan North America as a Medical School Admissions Advisor.

Dr. Wasco was nominated by a student-athlete, who said “An alumni of the university himself, Dr. Wasco selflessly dedicates his time towards helping generation after generation of student-athletes fulfill their potential and realize their dreams in becoming a physician leader. Throughout the course of four years, Dr. Wasco has helped me at every stage of the pre-medical journey. He has helped me plan academically, pursue necessary professional development opportunities, write letters of recommendation, review my applications, prepare for my interviews, and organize long-term goals. He does all of this not just for me, but for tens of other student-athletes each year, on a volunteer basis.”

2024 Private University Advisor of the Year

Chloe Lash, PhD, University of St. Francis

Dr. Chloe Lash earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from Valparaiso University. She then moved south to pursue a doctoral degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her doctoral research, in the lab of Dr. Charlie Kwit, focused on the chemical and microbial components of myrmecochory (seed dispersal by ants). While pursuing her degree, she also mentored undergraduate research on seed dispersal and on fungal disease transmission in ant colonies. She also has experience in habitat restoration and spider behavior.

She will take on a new role as Assistant Professor of Plant Biology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio in the fall.

Dr. Lash’s nomination essay describes how she went above and beyond to support a pre-veterinary student at the University of St. Francis: “In the absence of a formal pre-veterinary advisor at my institution, Dr. Lash spent many hours of her free time researching veterinary school admissions requirements and building plans to help me throughout the application process. She wrote me multiple letters of recommendation for different applications, advised me while I wrote my statement of purpose, and held mock interviews with me. She was there for me during the highs and lows of the process, with her office door and listening ear always open. Needless to say, I would not be attending veterinary school if it were not for her help and support.”

About the Award

In early 2022, the Student Advisory Council developed the idea of allowing students to recognize outstanding advisors. “As pre-health and health professional students, we’ve relied on the support of advisors to give us information and advice on the admissions process,” said Anand Shah, current dental student and member of the Student Advisory Council. “We wanted to allow students to tell the world about their advisors who have gone above and beyond to help them, and other students, with their journey to become health care professionals.”  

In February 2022, the Student Advisory Council invited students to nominate advisors who had helped them during their pre-health and health professional journey. From the nominations received, the Council selected an advisor from a public and private university as the inaugural award recipients.

“We are really excited to recognize these outstanding advisors,” said Thi Preysner, pre-medical student and Council member. “A great advisor is a mentor, cheerleader, and guide, and can make a huge difference in student’s lives.”

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