For many students, choosing the right career is one of the most important decisions they will make. But when it comes to choosing a career in health care, the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) is helping to make that decision a little easier. 

TAMHSC offers many health career awareness programs – also called pipeline programs – for high school and undergraduate students to learn about health care professions. They feature hands-on activities for students to encounter career options they wouldn’t experience on a regular basis, like being a nurse for the day by checking vital signs. 

Student learns how to perform various medical tasks at CBHEC.

Local students learn how to perform various medical tasks at CBHEC.

For example, the Future Health Professionals Conference hosted by Coastal Bend Health Education Center in Corpus Christi exposes high school students to health career fields that experience shortages in many South Texas communities.

During the conference, students travel to stations that feature careers in nursing, nutrition, clinical laboratory science, dental hygiene, respiratory, therapy, speech therapy and neuroscience.  At each station, students learn how to check blood pressure, blood type, lung capacity, draw blood and practice intubating a mannequin, among other activities.

The Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry (TAMBCD) Summer Presidential Enrichment Program (SPEP) shows aspiring dental students a glimpse of life after professional school.

Local students learn about health careers from professionals at CBHEC.

Local students learn about health careers from professionals at CBHEC.

The program features interactive activities and collaboration with other students and TAMBCD faculty. Programs are available for students entering 10th grade and continue for both college and post-college students. Participants also learn strategies for crucial admissions exams and requirements for the dental school application process.

“When I came here after my sophomore, I just knew this was what I wanted to do,” Jasmine Lucas, previous SPEP participant, said. “I saw the students walking around and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s going to be me.’”

TAMBCD also hosts the annual Student National Dental Association Impressions Program for underrepresented minority students who are interested in the dental field.

The Impressions Program serves as an open forum for prospective students to talk with current students about their experiences in professional school and the application and financial aid process.

After their pipeline programs are over, students will return to their daily lives with a new set of skills and a new decision to make: when will they accept the challenge of health professions and become part of the Aggie family at TAMHSC. 

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— Kendall Cherry

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