Victoria Uritsky: The science of outreach

Victoria Uritsky will graduate from Temple University with a degree in Biology.

When Temple University Biology major Victoria Uritsky begins her job scribing at Abington Hospital, she’ll be entering familiar territory.

The 22-year old has already put in hundreds of volunteer hours at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital working in a diversity of areas from corporate compliance to clinical research to the emergency department.

“I can trace my interest in biology to my high school anatomy class. Even though the material was challenging, I kept going back to it and it fueled my interest in higher level science classes,” she said. “I knew that was the field I wanted to go into and I also knew I wanted to use my knowledge to work with and help people. I started volunteering at Jefferson when I was still in high school and that continued each summer even after I came to Temple. I took part in a Clinical Research Assistant internship there in 2015 — they have nine to 10 active studies going at any given time and I was on the front lines of data collection, finding the right people that fit with the studies.”

A Temple legacy — both her mother and uncle are Temple alumni — Uritsky said she chose Temple because of “its world renowned medical school.”

“Temple has such a presence in the sciences that it was the obvious choice for me. I started at Temple University Ambler in my first year and it was so critical to my personal development,” she said. “I knew I could make a difference here; I made such true friends. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my years at Temple is to choose good company and to learn from each other. Too often people think they can do everything on their own and I am quite guilty of this myself. However when I started talking to and getting to know the people in my core classes, the classes became more enjoyable and so did my major.”

Uritsky said the personalized attention students were afforded at the Ambler Campus “helped in my progression as a student and a person.”

“I wasn’t dropped into a 500-person lecture class. I was given the opportunity to develop my skills and build my confidence so I was ready to face the challenges ahead,” she said. “I felt I would be able to succeed in any class. I don’t think that would have been the case if I hadn’t started at Temple Ambler.”

Altruistic by nature, once Uritsky built that confidence, she fueled it directly into becoming an essential part of the Temple Community as a Lead Owl Ambassador, Technical Assistant in the Ambler Campus Technology Center, member of Owlreach, an organization dedicated to community outreach, and the TUBio Society. Bake sales. Turkey drives. Anti-bullying campaigns. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service projects. Tutoring for Anatomy and Physiology classes. She was part of it all.

“I think as students we sometimes get so wrapped up in classes, exams, grades and projects that you forget the world around you. You forget how fortunate you are to be in college, to have this incredible opportunity to further yourself — I want to give back in any way I can,” she said. “Giving back to the community isn’t about what you as an individual get out of it; instead we grow holistically as a neighborhood. I found it was surprisingly easy and extremely gratifying to be a part of the campus and the Ambler community.”

With a newly minted Biology degree soon to be in hand, shortly after graduation Uritsky will begin her duties as a scribe at Abington Hematology and Oncology Associates for a year and then continue her education in a graduate program for Physician Assistant studies.

“A scribe essentially streamlines the process for a doctor, allowing them to see many patients in a shorter amount of time. Ultimately, my goal is to become a professional Physicians Assistant (PA),” she said. “A PA can really do anything — Temple’s director of student affairs for PA is a practicing PA. I want to take the time and opportunities to determine my specialty and see where is takes me.”

Uritsky said as a student, Temple “forced me to step well outside of my comfort zone.”

“Some people think of that as a bad thing, but failing is part of succeeding. At times, I was really struggling and it’s okay to feel that way. In this field, you have to really know the biological, chemical and physical sciences — it’s hard for anyone to be well versed in all three,” she said. “It’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to try new things in terms of study habits and how you approach challenges. Temple pushed me to higher levels of understanding; I’m ready and excited to face what comes next.”