Most people who recall breaking an arm would remember the pain or maybe the weight of a cast or the itchy skin underneath.

Smaran “Sam” Teru isn’t like most people.

“I really like bones, ever since seventh grade when I broke my arm playing football,” he said. “I know it’s kind of weird to say that.”

Questions on how bones grow back and why they grow back the way they do have inspired Teru to pursue a career in orthopedic medicine that will combine his love for science and exploration with his dedication to community service.

“Patient interaction and giving back to the community are two things that are key to the medical field,” Teru said.

He would like to attend Clarion University for its accelerated program for medicine, but he’s already had a headstart on his medical career thanks to both academic pursuits and his volunteer service.

Participating in the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s PULSE program has given Teru a taste of what to expect when he heads off to college and then medical school. In the fall of his junior year, he attended lectures at Penn State’s medical college during a semesterlong program that focused on the musculoskeletal system.

Teru has been practicing his future bedside manner by volunteering.

“If I can give my time to somebody, I think that’s the biggest investment you can give,” he said.

While volunteering at Hershey Medical Center, he worked in the sterilization department where he received what he called a good introduction to the equipment surgeons would use.

He’s also volunteered at Geisinger Holy Spirit, first as a general volunteer checking with patients to see if they want magazines, newspapers or other such things and then as a volunteer in the surgery department where he would make beds, clean rooms and sometimes transfer patients to their vehicles.

Teru has also volunteered at Messiah Village where he helped take residents to the chapel service and fill water pitchers in their rooms.

“Because these are elderly people, just seeing and talking to someone who is significantly younger than them gives them joy,” he said. “I’m getting joy out of it too.”

The highlight of his volunteer work, and his high school career, has been cheering on the same student for three years in the Special Olympics and being able to see the student grow as a person and be able to relate to him better each year.

“We’re basically their cheerleader for the day. We cheer them on as they’re doing their events,” Teru said. “The day is really geared towards them and making sure that they enjoy the day.”

Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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