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December 6, 2004

Health Center Event Encourages Students
To Pursue Health Care Careers

Gerry Baily pours fuel into the BioBus

Matt Willis, right, a fourth year MD/MPH student, looks over a model of a heart with Jacob Oleksak, left, and Arleta Majewska, seniors at New Britain High School, during Clinical Career Day at the Health Center.

Photo by Peter Morenus

The Health Center receives so many requests from local high schools for tours and information about Health Center programs that administrators decided to bundle them all together.

The result was Clinical Career Day.

The event, held Nov. 15, is a day dedicated to show and tell, with briefings, a career fair, and a panel discussion informing high school students about the potential of working in the health care field. The activities encourage students to consider a career in the field, and offer suggestions about how they can accomplish this.

About 100 students from eight high schools visited Farmington for an in-depth look at what the Health Center does and how it operates, and to find out about the state’s medical and dental schools and their clinical programs.

“It was an excellent opportunity for students to talk to professionals personally one-on-one,” says Sandy Kressner, human resources education and development specialist, and a coordinator of the event. “The students could pick their brains – ask about how they got into the field; what they do, and how they like it; what the field has to offer; and what the future looks like.”

Departments that participated include medicine, dental medicine, rehabilitation services, nursing, laboratory medicine, pharmacology, biomedical research, social work, the Connecticut Area Health Education Center, and the Health Center’s Health Careers Opportunity Programs.

The information was tailored to high school students just beginning to consider their futures.

Students were told to take their time in making their choices, Kressner says. They may change their minds a couple of times before they decide what they want to do.

“They were told to enjoy their work and to be passionate about it,” she says. “They were advised to go into a career for the right reasons; to look forward to going to work in the morning. And the kids appreciated that. They left here with a broader understanding of what’s out there and what’s available.

“They saw that this is more than just a hospital with clinics,” she adds. “They saw that it’s a multifaceted organization requiring a wide range of skills and talents.”

The day was so successful, organizers are planning a non-clinical career day in the spring. That day will be dedicated to the other disciplines and trades that make up the Health Center community.

“I loved talking to the kids,” says Lisa Jaser, director of pharmacy. “I like what I do and it was fun to be able to relay to them that pharmacy is more than a guy standing behind a counter. The career fair was a good venue for them to ask questions.”

The day was sponsored by the Health Center’s Human Resources Department; Celebrate Women, the Health Center’s free membership program aimed at improving the health of women of all ages; and Connecticut Area Health Education Center.