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Published August 01, 2017
The University of Wyoming this summer welcomed 80 eighth- through 11th-grade students to campus to explore health care-related fields during the seventh annual Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp.
During the camp, students participated in hands-on activities and attended presentations. They learned about career requirements and job opportunities for careers in fields such as medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, radiography, speech-language pathology and dentistry.
AHEC Director Marivern Easton says rural states like Wyoming face a critical shortage of health care workers.
“This health career exploration camp is part of the Wyoming Area Health Education Center’s mission to improve the supply and distribution of the Wyoming health care workforce by providing this opportunity for high school students to learn about the numerous career options available in the health care field,” she says. “Current need and predicted shortages in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and a wide variety of ancillary medical positions require that we identify early and help support students interested in health care careers. Our future Wyoming health care workforce, particularly in the more rural parts of the state, will most likely be composed of persons who were born and/or educated in Wyoming. We hope that many of these campers will decide to pursue a health care career and return or remain in Wyoming.”
Seventy-eight of the campers were from Wyoming.
Activities took place on the UW campus, at Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Snowy Range Vision Center and Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. New to this year’s summer camp were Flight for Life paramedics, UW Assistive Technology and Laramie Dental Arts. Interactive lessons included studying anatomy in UW’s human cadaver laboratory; using ultrasonography to view various images; making an insect repellent stick in a UW School of Pharmacy lab; and practicing suturing skills on chicken breasts at Ivinson Memorial Hospital.
For Cheyenne Central High School sophomore Emma Geringer, the visit to Ivinson Memorial Hospital was a highlight.
“We got to really see different departments in the hospital and what they do during the day,” she says. “That was pretty cool to get more of the experience of what a hospital setting is like to work in.”
Geringer hopes to one day become a nurse.
Seamus Malone, who soon will begin his freshman year at Natrona County High School in Casper, has always wanted a career in which he can help people. He’s leaning toward something surgical. Like Geringer, he says the hospital was a highlight, but he equally appreciated the anatomy studies in the cadaver lab.
“I really felt like I’ve learned more about different jobs and other careers I could go into,” he says.
Kimberly Quintana, a sophomore at Thunder Basin High School in Gillette, has parents in the medical field and says the camp opened her eyes to different career options. She is leaning toward nursing and also gained a different perspective on pharmacy during the camp. Quintana appreciated how affordable the five-day experience was for students.
“I got a lot out of it,” she says. “I’m really thankful I was able to come here.”
Funding for Wyoming AHEC comes largely from a Health Resources and Services Administration grant. Wyoming AHEC partners with the following entities: Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Laramie County Community College, Snowy Range Vision Center, UW College of Health Sciences, Donor Alliance and the Wyoming State Office of Rural Health.
Students participating in the camp, listed by hometown, were:
Buffalo -- Brooklyn Durrant.
Casper -- Josh Ahrndt, Ian Byrnes, Taylor Maese, Seamus Malone, Bridger Myers, Harlee Tille.
Cheyenne -- Olivia Devine, Caley Galipeau, Emma Geringer, Madison Padilla, Royce Purdy.
Cody -- Emma Cook.
Cokeville -- Maddysyn Diers.
Diamondville -- Grace Bella.
Douglas -- Gavin Gates, Brianna Goodell, Mallory Owen, Emily Skeen.
Encampment -- Nina Jackson.
Etna -- Parker Thompson.
Fort Bridger -- Sierra Toomer.
Gillette -- Anthony Bonnell, Kasey Gladson, Kylie Kirkpatrick, Makenna McNay, Michaela O'Dell, Makayla Orr, Mahafrin Parekh, Kimberly Quintana, Emma Tystad, Jaden Yelenich.
Glenrock -- Andrew Albrandt.
Green River -- Caitlin Crawford, Samantha Hardin, Jessica Petri.
Hudson -- Kailee Coffee.
Kaycee -- Mary Cleveland.
Kemmerer -- Jami Roberts, Allison Walker.
LaBarge -- Cade Anderson.
Lander -- Shaylissa Bald Eagle, Vaishnavi Bhavsar, Kameron Brough, Liza Hermansky, Jaclyn Hudson, William Lawrence, Emily Polson, Tessa Rodgers, Chelsea West, L’anza White.
Laramie -- Kairi Fahlenkamp, Michaela Pooler, Jay Robinson, Tan Mimi, Morgan Williams, David Zhang.
Lonetree -- Torri Ann Walker.
Lovell -- Sable Angell.
Mountain View -- Maura Flake, Mikaela Williams.
Pinedale -- Rylee Helm, Trinity Hunt.
Rawlins -- Haili Shephard.
Riverton -- Adrianna Bush, Shelby Gray, Trysta Stingley, Mya Tate, Olivia Wright.
Rock Springs -- Margaret Jensen, Nasheil Vieira, Logan Young.
Saratoga -- Katelyn Bifano.
Sheridan -- Sophia Destefano, Bailey Dodge.
Ten Sleep -- Payton Casteel.
Thermopolis -- Jeremy Gibbel.
Worland -- Ella Stanek.
Out of state -- Cooper Morgan and Karibeth Noraas, from Live Oak, Calif.