Health Careers Academic Readiness and Excellence (HCARE) Reunion

In 2014, we held our first reunion of our Stony Brook University HCOP Ambassadors, who have graduated from our Summer Academies. The goal of the reunion was to celebrate our students’ college successes, and share ideas about the future of HCOP, now called HCARE, Here’s some reflection which were shared by our Ambassadors during the reunion:

Since leaving HCOP, I have had a more open mind to life in general. I find that I am more outgoing and I don’t feel uncomfortable starting conversations with people I don’t know. I also keep a more positive mind and don’t get down on myself as easy. I always keep telling myself that I can achieve anything if I keep on going when times get hard. HCOP has been a very beneficial program for me and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they have even the slightest interest in medicine. It has helped me to focus on my career goal as well as little tips and tricks to get there. Because of this program I am able to write a strong resume and get through an interview in a sophisticated manner. Being able to attend this program in high school really helped me when applying for colleges. I knew that I wanted to be somewhere that was known for it excellent sciences. Being a part of Stony Brook University is a great feeling and I have grown to love and appreciate all it offers. The Health Careers Opportunity Program has broadened my view of medicine. It has shown me endless possibilities. I am now a double major in Biology and Psychology and I am working my way toward medical school to become an Orthopedic Surgeon. HCOP has helped me realize that I truly do have a strong passion for medicine.

In my time at the Health Careers Opportunity Program, I made many friends, and learned a lot about the various careers of the healthcare field. The classes on how to build a resume were very informative, and I still think back to the directions we were given during those classes when I write up a resume for any job I apply to. Thanks to the Health Careers Opportunity Program, and the presentations given by the professors and workers in the various fields of healthcare, I have decided to pursue a career in Medical Dosimetry.

The Health Careers Opportunity Program was an unforgettable experience like no other. I remember being lost at this point in my life. I was going to be a senior in high school and I wasn’t sure if college was going to be the next milestone for me. Being a pregnant teenager gave me low self-esteem, but once I came across this opportunity, that perspective completely differed from the previous one. I had twice the inspiration and twice the motivation. I came across the most incredible individuals that anyone could ever have the pleasure of meeting. Not only that, but I gained a vast wealth of knowledge. People say that an experience is what you make out of it. Truth is, this experience was made around me. I learned about many professions in the Allied Heath field. Those professions included Physician Assistant, Clinical Lab Scientist, Nurse, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Paramedic, Physician, Radiologist, Respiratory Therapist, and Nuclear Medicine Technology. This gave me guidance in what the next step was going to be. The program took care of us, the students, and I wanted to give back. I decided that I was going to be a caretaker. I wanted to be a part of what I experienced, regardless of the position. Dr. Vidal, Dr. Firestone, Professor Johnson, and Mr. Flynn made sure that we all got the most of what was presented to us. They are the most caring individuals, friends, mentors, and role models. Without the program I feel as if I would be lost with my academics. Without them, I feel as if I would be lost in life. It wasn’t all just learning about the professions, or the hands on activities in the professions, like putting pig lungs on a respirator. It was about connecting with one another. You were taught to network and build relationships. You were taught team building activities and how to overcome any shyness. You were given SAT prep, a lab coat, and an outlook on life. Once you completed the program, there is no doubt that you felt prepared for the real world and what lies beyond. I am currently a junior in college majoring in Health Sciences, and minor in Biology at Stony Brook University. I have an Associate’s in Sciences with a concentration in Biology. To this day I make sure I weekly communicate with my mentors, and pay them a visit. All we need in life is the proper guidance and this program has indeed given the guidance needed. Thank you all for your tremendous efforts. I’ll never forget what the program made of me.

The Health Careers Opportunity Program was a program that I am incredibly grateful that Stony Brook University allowed me to participate in. I found the classes compelling and eye opening to various facets of the medical field that either I was unaware of or knew little about. For instance, I did not know that you could be a Physician Assistant and not just a doctor or a nurse, or that Physician Assistant is such a rapidly growing field. I’m usually not one for team building exercises or “kumbaya” or anything like that, but the team building exercises for HCOP were fun and by the end of it I can say without any doubt that I was closer to my fellow interns. The faculty members that led the program were amazing as well. Mr. Flynn, Dr. Vidal, and Dr. Firestone are all incredibly passionate about the program. So much so that their drive and teamwork, rubbed off on all of us as we saw their unity and teamwork in action, we were motivated by their strength. All things considered, I found out a great deal from this program and it was an experience that I would not trade for anything.

HCOP is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. From the new friends that I made, to the various professionals we were privileged to meet, I am grateful for it all. This program introduced us to so many career opportunities in the medical field such as, occupational therapy and radiology. The career’s purpose and duties were explained to us, as well as the education needed in order to pursue it. Also, our mentors who dedicated their time to help us along the way, not only prepared us for our upcoming SAT’s, but also prepared us for the real world such as, teaching us how to create proper resumes, practicing for interviews, and establishing teamwork and leadership. Not all students are as fortunate to have been exposed to such information and guidance. During our high school years, people always said, “It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to be yet. You have time.” Although this may be true, time will pass, and you want to be ready. Many of my peers were unsure of their future careers but knew they wanted to pursue something in the medical field. Attending HCOP allowed them and me, to broaden our horizons and increase our knowledge on the health sciences. Today, I am completing my prerequisites for nursing and I could not be any more confident about my future, thanks to HCOP. I hope that students now and of the future will benefit from HCOP/HCARE as much as I did.

In the summer of 2010 I was chosen to be one of the few to participate in the HCOP program at Stony Brook University. This experience changed my whole outlook on my future more than they will ever know. We got the opportunity to be introduced to doctors and physicians, even medical students. They came and spoke to us about how their life was, and how to get into their profession. On top of that we made friendships through the program within one another. I now attend Stony Brook University myself and HCOP had a major influence on that decision. They showed us around campus and even let us meet with the dean of admissions. It was just a summer of opportunities that was well worth. Even on top of that we got paid! It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had, and I’m grateful that I was a part of the HCOP program.

The Health Careers Opportunity Program was a one in a lifetime experience that is impossible to forget. The program gave not only me, but many students the chance to view various allied health professions. Once I found out that the program existed, I right away knew this was something I had to be involved in. The after school workshops made me more interested in the program week after week. Throughout the six weeks we each took academic classes that allowed us the chance to learn something new each day. We were prepared academically and socially. With the team work presentation and bonding experiences we were allowed to make great relationships with all the students involved. This program gave us hands-on experiences that many do not get the chance to do. With the Physical Therapist Clinical Rotations, Physician Assistant Clinical Rotations, School of Nursing Rotations, and a tour of the School of Dental, we were able to see what exactly these professions do. Before entering the program I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. My personal issue was that I did not know exactly what I wanted to become. After learning about all of these profession and the hands-on experiences, I was able to figure out which direction I was headed. As of now I had decided to get my bachelors degree in Biological Science and continue my studies to become a Physician Assistant. Thanks to this program I was prepared to apply to colleges and learned about the Educational Opportunity Program in which I am currently part of. I also am aware of the grades get and actions I need to take to make it into graduate school. The Health Careers Opportunity program was beneficial for me in every way.