Student learns science is the best medicine

Follow Michelle Cometa on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A. Sue Weisler

Rochester City Scholar Amanda Johnson majored in biomedical sciences in the College of Health Sciences and Technology. She finished classes in December but will participate in graduation in May.

Even though she is outwardly quiet, Amanda Johnson was hardly a shrinking violet on the soccer field. Captaining the School of the Arts varsity girls team, she motivated teammates and tore across the field throughout the season, setting up or scoring goals.

Since then, the fourth-year biomedical sciences major used her time at RIT to score career goals, combining her love of sports with a passion for science.

“Having the assurance that I’d be able to go my full four years and not have to worry about finances was a big thing,” she said. “My family did not have the money to give me for school.”

Johnson completed coursework in December and is awaiting responses to graduate school and physician assistant programs, her next step after graduation in May. She is considering orthopedics and sports medicine.

“Since the fifth grade, I’ve always wanted to go into medicine,” she said. “Just being immersed in all the classes, really seeing what they were all about, helped me make my decision.”

She had heard about the Rochester City Scholars program through her mother, Teri Johnson, when it was first announced in 2009. Teri, a single mom, and her son and two daughters moved back to Rochester in the early 2000s after living in Indiana for nearly 25 years.

“The scholarship was a godsend for us,” Teri Johnson said. “Amanda would never have been able to pursue a career in medicine without this.”

Her first days at RIT were both scary and exciting. “When I moved in, it really hit me that I was going to be away from home,” she said, adding that she had not been away from home for more than several days.

But like on the soccer field, Johnson came out of her shell. She was a teaching assistant for the human anatomy course, working with faculty member Michelle Lennox. She planned lessons and taught a segment on the digestive system, as well as worked with classmates during labs.

Outside of RIT, Johnson works part time at JCPenney and at Highland Hospital as a companion/observer with dementia patients.

“I think it’s important that more people know about this program,” Johnson said, “because it opens a lot of doors.”