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Melinda Cohen, who played an instrumental role in improving the procedures for Barnard students to apply for pre-health programs, will leave for Sarah Lawrence College.

Barnard’s Assistant Dean for Pre-Health Advising Melinda Cohen will step down on April 6 to become the Associate Dean for Pre-Professional Advising at Sarah Lawrence College, according to an email sent to Barnard pre-health students from Beyond Barnard Associate Deans Nikki Youngblood-Giles and A-J Aronstein.

Cohen, who helped standardize the Institutional Committee Letters for pre-health students and create the Health Professions Advisory Committee, will continue to provide part-time advising to students and alumnae, Youngblood-Giles and Aronstein said in the email.

The college also announced that Dr. Thea Volpe will be available to support students and alumnae until Cohen’s replacement is hired. Volpe, who currently works as an independent consultant, previously worked in pre-health advising at Columbia and NYU for more than 25 years. Students will continue to have access to additional support from the HPAC and Beyond Barnard, according to the email.

A committee of students, faculty, and administrators will be convened “immediately” to search for Cohen’s replacement.

Youngblood-Giles and Aronstein wrote that while Beyond Barnard will continue to assist pre-health students interested in applying to medical, dental, veterinary, and nursing schools.

“We … extend our gratitude to her for being a trusted adviser for students and alumnae considering advanced study in the health professions,” the email said. “She has been a consistent source of support during what is a lengthy application process.”

Read the full email below:

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to announce that Melinda Cohen, Assistant Dean for Pre-Health Advising, will be leaving Barnard to become the Associate Dean for Pre-Professional Advising at Sarah Lawrence College.

In the last several years, Barnard has made several key improvements in the medical, dental, and veterinary school application process in support of Barnard students. These include the standardization of Institutional Committee Letters, the formation of a faculty-led Health Professions Advisory Committee, and the implementation of year-round advising and preparation of students and alumnae in the application pipeline. We thank Dean Cohen for her work in formalizing these key processes. We also extend our gratitude to her for being a trusted adviser for students and alumnae considering advanced study in the health professions. She has been a consistent source of support during what is a lengthy application process.

At Beyond Barnard, we look forward to leading continued progress and the expansion of support in these areas. We are excited to continue serving as effective resources for students and alumnae, while deepening our partnership with the many faculty and staff who support Barnard’s applicants.

Dean Cohen’s last day in her full-time role will be Friday, April 6, but she will continue to be available to advise students and alumnae on a part-time basis. To ensure students and alumnae are receiving the fullest support possible, Dr. Thea Volpe, who has more than 25 years of experience as a pre-health advisor at top NYC institutions like Columbia and NYU, will return to Barnard to support pre-health students, in conjunction with the regular support of the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) and Beyond Barnard advising staff. A follow-up email will be sent to those currently in the health professions application pipeline to further detail how we will ensure deadlines are met and support services will be maintained in the interim.

We will begin the search for Dean Cohen’s replacement immediately. A committee comprised of faculty, administrators, and students will be tasked with identifying the best possible candidate. In the meantime, students and alumnae seeking appointments to discuss their applications or their interests in the health professions can continue to email prehealthadvising@barnard.edu.

Please join us in thanking Dean Cohen for her dedication to Barnard.

Nikki Youngblood Giles

Associate Dean

Beyond Barnard

A-J Aronstein

Associate Dean

Beyond Barnard

ainsley.bandrowski@columbiaspectator.com | @ACBandrowski

Melinda Cohen Pre-Health Sarah Lawrence College
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