Posted: Monday Aug 5, 2013
Aug. 5, 2013
Although he grew up surrounded by family members who were doctors and nurses, Blase Prosperi didn’t consider that vocation for himself until he was a junior in high school.
“I was always interested in the sciences and considered the various fields I could pursue as a career,” Prosperi recalled. “But, it wasn’t until my junior year in high school that my father, Dr. Aldo Prosperi, a family medicine physician in Latrobe, invited me to shadow him on his rounds one day. I really enjoyed it and got a new respect for his work as a physician. I was particularly impressed with the interaction he had with his patients, some of whom are second or third generation patients which makes it very special.”
He graduated from Greater Latrobe High School in 2008 where he played both football and lacrosse. Choosing where he would pursue his undergraduate education was the next decision he faced. Since his father and two aunts, Dr. Stephanie Prosperi and Dr. Annie Prosperi, both graduated from Saint Vincent and his grandfather had taught at Saint Vincent, he knew that would be the family favorite. He initially considered the University of Michigan and John Carroll University but subsequently decided both were too far away and too expensive. After attending a get-acquainted day open house at Saint Vincent, he fell in love with the local campus. “Dr. James Barnett took us into the digital imaging laboratory and I was really impressed,” he related. “And I observed the close bonds between students and faculty. I knew the right decision was in my back yard.”
The first professor he had in his freshman year confirmed that right decision. “Dr. Jennifer Koehl teaches freshman general biology and is so accommodating to students,” he said. “She was always right there in case anyone needed anything, even if it was after class time. She got me off to a great start.”
Other science professors who Prosperi speaks highly of include Barnett who teaches physiology and chairs the pre-professional health committee, and Dr. Daryle Fish who teaches organic chemistry.
He also says he enjoyed his psychology and history classes and other liberal arts dimensions of the school. “In addition to the courses that are required for entrance to medical school, I also got to take some other cool classes such as African Studies and History of 20th Century Sports,” he reported. Prosperi did very well in all his studies and was named to the Dean’s List in every semester. He graduated with highest honor in 2012.
In addition to academics, he also participated in intramural soccer and had a work/study job at Saint Vincent Cemetery for four years where he did grounds keeping, gardening, mowing and assisted with burials.
During his senior year at Saint Vincent, Prosperi started applying to medical schools, 13 in all. “I was accepted at four medical schools – Michigan State University School of Medicine, Drexel, George Washington and Georgetown, which was my first choice.”
He will soon start his second-year at Georgetown School of Medicine. Although too early to settle on a specialty, he has a considerable experience and interest in general surgery.
As a second-year student though, he emphasized that the focus of this year is preparation for the first step of the Board exam next summer. “Your score on that test determines your competitiveness for certain residencies,” he noted.
In addition to his father’s community practice, he also sees students at Saint Vincent as physician in the College Wellness Center where his mother, Kathy, works part time as a nurse. Prosperi has two brothers, Aldo, who works for the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, and a younger brother, Gian, who is studying mechanical engineering at Villanova. The Prosperi family resides in Unity Township and belongs to Saint Vincent Basilica Parish where Blase was an altar server for many years.
Reflecting on his experience at Saint Vincent, he says that students who choose Saint Vincent are making an excellent decision. “You will be glad you chose Saint Vincent, I tell prospective students. The faculty is always willing to spend time with you both in class and outside of class to answer any questions you may have. I also think the Catholic, Benedictine character of Saint Vincent helped significantly. I always go to Mass and enjoy the Catholic atmosphere on campus. Interaction with the monks who teach or serve in other areas was great.”
Prosperi says he especially enjoys his friendship with Archabbot Douglas. “My father had him for a psychology class when he was a student and they became friends when he began to see monks as patients. That friendship has now been extended to me. We both enjoy visiting with him.”
“Although Saint Vincent is a small school, it is well known and respected as a powerhouse in the sciences,” Prosperi concluded. “With the completion of the new Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion this year, Saint Vincent has a very fine science facility.”
Photo: Blase Prosperi in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion at Saint Vincent College.
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