Concord Students Reap Benefits from Summer Medical Program
Athens, W.Va. – Five Concord University students witnessed the benefits of a career in the health care field by participating in West Virginia University’s Health Careers and Opportunities Program (HCOP).
The HCOP, funded by the West Virginia State Legislature, is designed to provide undergraduate students, along with incoming freshmen, hands-on experience in the medical field and allow them to take preparatory courses for the MCAT (medical), DAT (dental), and PCAT (pharmacological) tests -- standardized tests that students entering the medical fields must take and pass.
Samantha Creel from Procious in Clay County, and a senior at Concord University, participated in the summer program and said there were many benefits that she witnessed from the program.
“I wanted to participate in this program because of the preparation for the MCAT exam,” Creel said. “Also, I’m interested in attending medical school at WVU, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.”
The program is free for students who meet the requirements as determined in the application process. According to Creel, students who meet the requirements are paid a stipend for participating.
During this six week program, Creel was able to take preparatory courses. Moreover, she was able to “shadow” health care professionals and participate in volunteer services. Her favorite part, she said, was watching an open-heart surgery. She also enjoyed volunteering with the Mushroom Project. Students who participate in HCOP distribute supplies to those who are homeless.
“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to watch an open-heart surgery because not everyone gets to do this,” she said, “and, the Mushroom Project was equally as amazing, and it was very rewarding to provide help to the homeless.”
The program does not provide a student with college credit, but Creel says students can get much more from the experience. People can instead get to see medical professionals in action and get to see if this is the field for them, she said.
“Our group returned with mixed feelings about entering the health care field,” she said. “There were people who wanted to go into the medical field, but after participating in the program, changed their minds. Personally, it confirmed my desire to go into the medical profession.”
Creel said she advises anyone wanting to go to medical school or into the medical profession to apply: the earlier one applies, the better.
“There is a lot that goes into applying for medical school and studying for the MCAT, so students should really get involved in this program,” she said. “You definitely need exposure in your field before making any major life decisions.”
Other Concord students who attended included: Michael Kinder from Charleston, Gregory Morris from Upperglade, Brandon Shiflett from Shady Spring and Amber Crum from Mount Hope.
Ms. Tammy Monk, director of career services, noted: “I commend the students who took advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately, today, so many college students have to focus on working at a summer job where they can make enough money to return to college the next year. Programs like HCOP offer so much more than a financial reward. Any opportunities students have to gain experience in their chosen field or to gather information about a potential field of study offer immeasurable rewards. Many of these are opportunities of a lifetime and can have a significant impact on their future."
Dr. Darla Wise, associate professor and department chairperson of biology, stated that, "HCOP is an excellent opportunity to experience MCAT prep courses, shadow health professionals, and participate in mock interviews and one-on-one interaction with WVU faculty members."
The mission of the HCOP program is to assist underserved, disadvantaged, and minority students to become more competitive for college and health care careers, increase diversity in the health care professions, and improve the distribution of health care professionals in underserved areas.
The HCOP programs strive to provide a variety of activities that foster the integration of academics and interpersonal experiences to develop the total person. Students are encouraged to be broadly educated and highly motivated individuals who will continue their moral, cultural, and professional growth as they forge ahead on their life-long educational pathways.
Students interested in the HCOP can apply online at http://www.cahcon.org.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Andrea Meador, a sophomore majoring in public relations wrote this news release. Her hometown is Ghent.