ASHEVILLE – Cherokee High School’s health teacher Mrs. Hess took ten of her students to the 13th Annual Health Careers Education Awareness Conference held at UNC – Asheville on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Jeff Heck, MD (President and CEO of MAHECH) and Jacquelyn Hallum, MBA, MHA (Director of Health Careers and Diversity Education at MAHEC) welcomed students in an opening speech. Students had the wonderful opportunity to listen to William Ryals, DMD (MAHEC Division Director, General Dentistry) speak at the opening session about believing in yourself and aiming high.
Students then broke out into two 40-minute sessions. They chose from the following sessions: Financial Aid Theater, Are Your “FIT” to be an American Idol?, Navigating Career Choices, Diversity in Healthcare, and Obstacles to Avoid on Your Journey. Just before lunch, they attended a student panel discussion featuring students from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Southwestern Community College, Western Carolina University, and University of North Carolina-Asheville. The conference wrapped up with the interactive Career Fair.
Mrs. Hess sits on the 2012 Western North Carolina Regional Advisory Committee responsible for organizing the conference. The committee features members from Mission Hospital; high schools, colleges, and universities in Western North Carolina; City of Asheville; and private practices.
According to Mrs. Hess, the conference experience provides “students with practical information needed to make good decisions in choosing a future path in health occupations.”
She said, “Every age group was welcomed and made to feel as they were important and a part of MAHEC.”
Angel Saine, one Cherokee High School attendees, learned the importance of regulating what you post on social media and the Internet about yourself and the value of treating patients equally regardless of appearance or background.
Many of the students appreciated the opportunity to interact with career professionals. The conference exposed students, like Stephen Swan and Emre Johnson, to the variety of opportunities in the healthcare industry that are available to them.
Jaylen Welch liked the career booths at the interactive Career Fair.
Christine Davis found the conference to be “inspiring” and “so much more” than she expected.
Ryanne Oocumma loved the bus ride to Asheville, and Jaron Bradley’s favorite thing about the trip was “the learning.”
Mrs. Hess said, “The breakout sessions were wonderful!” The students agreed. In the Stop, Think, and Click, they learned that no matter what you put on the internet and think you erased never really goes away. This can affect a student’s admission to college. When a college is considering potential applicants, admissions representatives go online to look you up. They can see what all you have put on the Internet. It was this enlightening moment that helped students gain perspective on what should and should not be posted to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and the Internet in general.
Mrs. Hess commented, “My favorite part was seeing the excitement in their faces when talking to different people”.
– Cherokee Central Schools