High school honor students explore health science careers

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public affairs | July 14, 2008

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Laura Hock of Bertrand High School.
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Julia Klinkebiel and Thomas McHale of Cambridge High School.
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Katie Fagot and Allie Keller of Eustis-Farnam High School.
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Sara Chavez, Kylie Olson, William Raun and Jennifer White of Minden High School.
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Adam Christie of Holdrege High School.
Katie Fagot, a student at the Eustis-Farnam High School, isn't sure what career in health care she would like to pursue. But after a week at UNMC, she is closer to deciding.

"I've learned some things here and don't think it would be so intimidating," she said. "It's helping me decide. I'm leaning towards pharmacy. We got a tour in the college and that helped."

She was one of 10 honor students from the Holdrege area who participated in the 2008 Holdrege Summer Honors Program in Omaha last month to learn about health science careers at UNMC.

The goal of the workshop is to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the health sciences with the hope that they may someday practice health care in rural Nebraska where critical shortages of health care professionals are a major concern.

The students learned about UNMC's academic programs, attended lectures and did research. At the end of the workshop, students developed papers about their findings.

"It's always a pleasure hosting the program for the students attending the Holdrege program," said Lisa Jewell, director of the UNMC Youth Learning Center. "We schedule learning experiences they will benefit from and may not otherwise receive."

Sara Chavez of Minden High School said she's always been interested in the medical field and came to UNMC to make sure she was doing the right thing.

"I think I'm interested in some aspect of surgery or psychiatry," Chavez said. "The program's been really good. We get a feel for what we do or don't like."

Julia Klinkebiel of Cambridge High School is the second person in her family to participate in the program. Her brother participated in the program and loved it, she said.

For Adam Christie of Holdrege High School, the choice of what medical career to pursue was easier.

"I think I want to be an endocrinologist," Christie said. "I have diabetes and I want to work with people who have that, too."

After the students attended their first week at UNMC, they went back to their hometowns and had an opportunity to job shadow medical professionals working in the area of their interest.