High school students from Macomb and Oakland counties learned about the varied health care professions available to them at two health care career nights hosted recently by Wayne State University (WSU), which showcased how Wayne State’s robust degree programs position recipients to excel in the industry.
The career nights were held Sept. 27 at the WSU Oakland Center in Farmington Hills and Oct. 2 at the WSU Macomb Education Center in Clinton Township. The programs began with an overview of health care careers, which was given St. John Providence Health System Director of Worklife Services Nini Coury and at the Macomb Education Center by Gary Beaulac, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. Next, students were invited to attend sessions on biomedical engineering, health education, health sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, all of which were presented by Wayne State faculty, practicing clinicians, or executives in that industry sector.
Kevin Chandler, associate director of off-campus facilities, said the career nights benefited students in several ways. First, they allowed students and their parents to go to a single, convenient location for information on a range of health care professions. Next, students got a candid, firsthand look at their areas of interest from real-world professionals, who shared their personal career paths and discussed the opportunities “on the ground.” Finally, students and parents received information on degree requirements and scholarships to assist them in the college planning process.
“High school students get a lot of input from parents, teachers and counselors about career paths as they begin to contemplate college,” Chandler said. “As they receive these career suggestions, it’s important that they hear directly from professionals in the field to understand the realities of these jobs and the degrees required to obtain them. These insights give students a great advantage as they work with advisors to organize their coursework.”
Jake Clor, an eleventh grader at Dakota High School in Macomb Township, said he attended the Oct. 2 career night to learn more about pharmacy careers and was surprised to learn how broad his options are.
“I knew about working in retail and in hospitals,” said Clor, “but I didn’t realize there was so much going on in research.”
Lanee Blaise took her daughter, Kayla, to the Oakland Center event – despite the fact that Kayla is only in seventh grade.
“Ever since Kayla was in fourth grade, she has wanted to be a doctor and study ways to cure diseases,” Blaise said. “I had to admit to her that I didn’t really know what career path would allow her to do that, so when I saw this event advertised, I thought it might show us how she can fulfill her dream.”
Blaise said Kayla left the career night enthused about health sciences, through which she could develop pharmaceutical therapies, and biomedical engineering, through which could develop prostheses and mechanical devices to help those with disabilities.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said Blaise, noting that she and Kayla were also delighted to learn about Wayne State’s “Future Docs” educational day for kids. “It was just amazing to have question-and-answer time with these doctors and researchers. I really think ‘the younger, the better’ when it comes to teaching kids about careers. It helps them set their sights on a goal.”