Students Learn About Medical Careers at March of Dimes Student Convocation

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Students from Syracuse City School District high schools learned about life science, bioethics and the paths leading to a career in medicine at the 7th Annual March of Dimes Student.
Held at Upstate Medical University, the event featured a panel discussion, question and answer session and a presentation about financial aid. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a career fair to expose them to the many paths in which they could pursue a career in the medical field.
Some students, like Fowler High School junior Tommy Huynh, enjoyed the event despite a lack of interest in the medical field. “I’m still confused about what I want to do after high school, so I wanted to come today to expose myself to more options in terms of what’s out there career wise,” Tommy explained. “At the panel discussion, they talked a lot about the college experience in general. I learned that what I do now will impact me later in life and when I’m applying to college.”
Nottingham High School senior Silvio Cavoli enjoyed hearing Keynote Speaker Mohini Banerjee’s presentation, Unearthing Hatred: Bioethics in a Changing World. “Bioethics is a growing field—it’s not just medicine, but also how people interact with each other,” Silvio said. “Today was interesting for me not from the medical side of things but because I’m interested in the policy aspect.”
The career fair was the main highlight of the day, featuring representatives from St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, the Pomeroy College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital and Upstate Medical University who spoke about Clinical Laboratory Science, Radiation Therapy, Medical Imaging Services, Nursing and the Teen Volunteer Program. A balance board at the Physical Therapy Education table and a shaking vest used to help loosen mucus in Respiratory Therapy patients were hands-on and big hits with the students.
For students with an existing interest in medicine, this experience was invaluable.
Remember Patience, a junior at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central, was happy to learn from those already working in the field. “I wanted to come today because I want to get into the medical field to be a physician or pediatrician,” she said. “Today, I learned that I need to sacrifice my free time and I will get into college. I got a lot of advice today, like don’t doubt yourself and put yourself in uncomfortable situations so you can learn to work through them.”
The event also helped encourage Fowler junior Hoang Nguyen in his career ambitions. “March of Dimes is involved in the medical field, and I have an interest in cardiovascular medicine. I learned that if I want to be a surgeon, I have to focus on math and science now while I’m in high school, and I can’t just mess around.”
Other students were inspired by the diversity of options available to them in the medical realm. Nottingham junior Alain Gonzalez explained, “My mom works in the medical field, and that motivates me. I want to be a Registered Nurse with a 4-year degree and help people. But today, I learned about other ways, besides being an RN, that I can get involved in the field.”
The March of Dimes event, while aimed at students, also left an impression on the professionals who attended.
Donna Vavonese, Director of Admissions at Upstate Medical University, explained why the University continues to participate in the event year after year. “We’re always interested in recruiting our own students from the community and getting them interested in the medical field,” she said. “The students have been very inquisitive and have asked wonderful questions.”
Kevin Neville, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Upstate Medical University, agreed that the level of student interest is impressive. “This year’s group was willing to come up to me, put out their hand and engage me, rather than me having to engage them.”
The March of Dimes Student Convocation was sponsored by AT&T and hosted by Upstate Medical University. Thank you to all who participated for exposing Syracuse City School District students to such a wide range of career possibilities!