COSAM » News » Articles » 2017 » April » COSAM’s Director of Pre-Health Professions, Beverley Childress, received the 2017 Women of Distinction Administrative and Professional Staff Leadership Award

COSAM’s Director of Pre-Health Professions, Beverley Childress, received the 2017 Women of Distinction Administrative and Professional Staff Leadership Award

Published: 04/06/2017

By: Candis Birchfield

Beverley Childress, COSAM's Director of Pre-Health Services

COSAM’s Director of Pre-Health Professions, Beverley Childress, received the 2017 Women of Distinction Administrative and Professional Staff Leadership Award, given by the Auburn University Women’s Center.

The award honors outstanding female leaders in the Auburn community and recognizes Childress for her accomplishments, leadership, and the ways in which she serves as a role model for her colleagues and students.

As the director of Pre-Health Professions, Childress mentors, guides and implements tools for COSAM students who have a desire for a career in healthcare. She serves as the faculty advisor for the Auburn University Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a national honor society for students preparing for careers in the health professions. Childress coordinates the pre-medical preceptorship at Auburn, which offers students an opportunity to shadow local physicians. Perhaps the most time-consuming aspect of her role as pre-health director is coordinating the Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee, or P-PAC.

Chaired by Childress, P-PAC is perhaps the single largest contributing factor to Auburn University’s above-average acceptance rates to health professional schools—typically 30 percentage points higher than the national average for medical school, and often 100 percent acceptance for dental and optometry school.

Her tireless efforts with P-PAC are what ensure COSAM pre-health students have the tools and information they need to put their best foot forward when applying to medical, dental or optometry schools. The committee helps Auburn students with the application process, and it consists of faculty leadership from across the university, but primarily from the Department of Biological Sciences.

“Beverley's work ethic is unparalleled,” said Krysta Diehl, COSAM’s pre-health counseling specialist. “She writes a summary letter for every applicant to medical, dental and optometry school from Auburn, typically 200 per year. She also supervises and checks each application. Although tedious and time-consuming work, every application must be correct and complete for the applicant to remain competitive.”

During the course of her career at Auburn, Childress has recognized a need to offer further support for students who may have less preparation as they embark on their undergraduate careers. First-generation students, rural or underrepresented students may not have the science preparation from high school that leads to immediate success in college.

“Beverley worked with Auburn's Department of Biological Sciences to create a Pre-Professional Master's Program,” said Diehl. “This program allows students to spend a year in graduate courses and clinical experience to enhance their medical school applications, while earning a graduate degree. Beverley is committed to making professional school attainable for all students. She recently told us, with tears in her eyes, that a former student was accepted to dental school after a long wait. This particular student had almost given up but Beverley gave her confidence.”

Students and professionals alike who have worked with Childress will note her tireless dedication to her students.

“One of the things that has always stuck out to me about Ms. Childress was how her input was never generic. She took time to get to know me, my interests, and my personality and was therefore able to provide individualized feedback and advice. She was not afraid to say if she thought something would be a good or a bad fit. I think this is a rare quality for a person tasked with advising large numbers of students. Once I found my direction, she was a tireless cheerleader as I went through the process of applying and interviewing for graduate school. The College of Science and Mathematics at Auburn is like an extended family largely because of people like Ms. Childress who are so invested in the growth and development of their students.”

Kelly M. East ’07 (microbiology)
Certified Genetic Counselor
Clinical Applications Lead
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

“As I have interacted with students from Auburn over the years, I have heard many stories about Beverley and the role she has played in helping these students find their paths to careers in healthcare. She is always focused on keeping up to date on the changing curriculum in various professional schools, frequently communicating with liaisons from the schools admissions offices, both through yearly mock interviews and hosting these representatives as speakers at AED and her pre-health professions class.

Quite frankly, when I learn a pre-med student attends Auburn, I know they have been able to work with the best health profession advisor in the state.

Auburn has a reputation as a top notch premed program and I am sure that is in part because of Beverley's work.”

Lanita S. Carter, Ph.D.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Director, Medical Education and Student Services, Huntsville Campus Assistant Professor, Medical Education
Interim Leadership Team, UASOM Admissions Committee 

"She knew each one of us on a personal level: our doubts, our fears, our challenges, our dreams, our hopes and our aspirations .... She gave me advice and constructive criticism when I needed someone to be transparent with me.”

Cassie Bishop ’02 (biomedical sciences)
DSR at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals 

“Her diligence in improving the lives of students is witnessed when she spends her weeknights and weekends writing committee letters, helping with AED, or educating herself so that her students stand the best chance of being accepted.”

Sally Harrison ’16 (biological sciences)
Medical Student at University of Alabama at Birmingham

Beverley Childress (left) receives the 2017 Women of Distinction Administrative and Professional Staff Leadership Award from Taffye Clayton, vice president and associate provost of inclusion and diversity.

Prior to joining the administration at Auburn, Childress had a career as a teacher and counselor at Holy Spirit School in Tuscaloosa, St. Joseph School in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Chambers Academy in Lafayette. She was also an academic administrator and assistant headmaster at Chambers County. Her career at Auburn University began in 1996 when she joined COSAM’s Office of Student Services as an academic advisor. She was named director of COSAM’s Pre-Health Professions Programs in 2000, and since her tenure began she has received numerous honors and awards including: the U.S. Army Certificate of Appreciation for Exceptional Leadership; the NACADA Commission and Interest Group Service Award; the NACADA Commission Sponsored Conference Presentation Award; the Auburn University Society of Health Professionals Recognition; the Auburn University Student Government Association Outstanding Advisor of the Year; the College of Sciences and Mathematics Staff Appreciation Award; and the Auburn University Spirit of Excellence Award.

Childress is a member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, Alpha Epsilon Delta Health Pre-Professional Honor Society, the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Women Educators, the National Academic Advising Association, and Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.

She has a bachelor of science in education and a master’s in counseling and guidance, both from the University of Alabama.

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