Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Oakland University, and Oakland Schools recently partnered to present the 3rd Annual Careers in Healthcare for middle schoolers from two area school districts.

OU, OUWB partner with Oakland Schools on 3rd Annual Careers in Healthcare
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Ekaterina Clark, rising M2, explains hands-only CPR to Jaybe Williams, a student from Pontiac Middle School.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Oakland University, and Oakland Schools recently partnered to present the 3rd Annual Careers in Healthcare for middle schoolers from two area school districts.

More than 200 students from the Ferndale and Pontiac visited the campus of Oakland University on May 10. The event aimed to increase awareness of health care career options while giving students a taste of campus life.

Students had the opportunity to take part in 10 sessions, ranging from hygiene to a hands-only CPR demonstration. Sessions were presented by OUWB students, staff, and faculty along with representatives from Mindfulness Institute of Michigan, Beaumont Health, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and U.S. Army.

The event was funded through a Gear Up grant and the Oakland University Pontiac Initiative.

Robert Noiva, Ph.D., associate dean of Graduate Studies and Community Integration, said it makes sense for OU and OUWB to be involved in a program like Careers in Healthcare for middle school-aged students.

“Eighth grade is a crucial time because (students) are selecting where they’re going to go to high school and what kind of curriculum they’re going to be pursuing,” he said.

“We want them to think about the type of classes that they need to take while they’re in high school.”

Noiva said it’s also about showing students various career options.

“We’re exposing them to different careers — where there are good jobs and they can stay in the area — and telling them about the pathways to get those degrees,” he said.

Teresa Rodges, senior director, Community Service and Pre-College Programs, Student Affairs & Diversity, Oakland University, said it’s important to help youngsters “find their passion” while giving them a glimpse of what OU has to offer.

“If their passion is health care, this is a great way for them to come and see Oakland University students in action…along with a slew of other professionals,” she said. “We want students to get their feet on campus, because if they can’t see it, they can’t be it.”

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Students were highly engaged when being taught hands-only CPR techniques.

Ekaterina Clark, rising M2, taught students about hands-only CPR.

“It’s really important for everyone to know CPR and this is a really good way to introduce people to what CPR is,” she said. “At this age, they can already help anybody that they find needs help.”

She said the key to success is not only demonstrating specific actions and techniques, but also showing excitement about the topic.

“If I’m enthusiastic and excited about this — which I very much am — they will hopefully catch that as well and get excited, too.”

That’s exactly what happened with Jaybe Williams, a student at Pontiac Middle School. Williams was highly engaged with Clark’s demonstration.

“It was fun, I really liked it,” she said.

Williams said she felt the entire day was “very educational.”

“Especially for me personally, because I’m going into the medical field…I want to be an anesthesiologist,” she said, adding that she “likes helping people and the responsibility” that goes along with the job.

Margaret Kelley, career readiness coordinator, Oakland Schools, said reaching students like Williams can make a big difference in their lives.

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“It’s really important for students to get to experiment with things that they may have an interest in, and also to find out they don’t really have interest in certain things,” she said. “It’s really important to start in eighth grade so student can be better prepared to select high school classes based on what career route they have in mind.”

Patty Adolfs, K-12 Career Readiness Consultant, Oakland Schools, said the interactions provided to students via events like Careers in Healthcare provide “intrinsic motivation” and help them believe in themselves.

“We had a student who expressed interest in being a doctor, but indicated they had trouble reading,” she said. “One of the medical students said ‘Well, guess what? I’m not a very good reader either so I do all my books on audio and I’ve been successful.’”

“That kind of engagement can make all the difference,” she said.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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