Students learn various job roles at WVSOM

Robert Pepper, D.O., associate professor, in the WVSOM clinical science department, demonstrates to students on Apprentice Day.

High school students from seven counties visited the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) campus during the first-ever Apprentice Day to learn about medical and non-medical careers.

The event, which took place May 4, provided students with insight into various campus departments including institution facilities services to include maintenance and housekeeping; shipping and receiving; clinical sciences; osteopathic medicine; scientific research; clinical evaluations; marketing and communications; and WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI).

“The purpose of this event is to excite you about going into a health care field, and to understand that a medical school, like any big corporation, has a ton of other jobs,” WVSOM President Michael Adelman told the crowd of 31 high schoolers.

Adelman explained how people may not always have the job they want immediately out of college, but that sometimes building from one job to another can lead to a career.

As students made their way throughout WVSOM’s campus, they gained a deeper understanding regarding viruses in a microbiology lab, learned the importance of facility maintenance, learned how to create a cohesive branding advertisement, observed the technique used to create mock injuries known as moulage, and participated in an osteopathic manipulative treatment demonstration.

Shane Tilley, a junior at Wyoming East High School, said he thought Apprentice Day was a good opportunity for students like him, who may not necessarily know what career field they are interested in. He said he most enjoyed taking a closer look at a slide in the microbiology lab of a growing virus.

Brycen Kuenzel, a senior at Chapmanville Regional High School, said he has known for awhile that he would like to have a career in medicine, but Apprentice Day made him realize there are more elements to a medical school than one would think.

“I learned how much work it takes to run a medical school,” he said. “There are entire teams devoted to getting a job done.”

As an aspiring physician, Kuenzel most enjoyed the Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) lab, where he learned the unique differences between osteopathic and allopathic physicians.

“I knew there was a difference, but I didn’t know exactly what that was,” he said. “And it was good to hear about treatments they use as doctors.”

Leslie Bicksler, WVSOM’s associate vice president of human resources, said it’s important youth in the state realize the impact of WVSOM and its 285-plus employee workforce.

“WVSOM employees value lifelong learning and the Apprentice Day program provides an opportunity for West Virginia youth to see passionate, hardworking and committed West Virginians in jobs that make a difference,” she said.

National Apprentice Day is a nonprofit organization connecting kids to their dream job in order to help build a stronger, more vibrant and highly skilled workforce. For more information about Apprentice Day, visit To learn more about WVSOM, visit