Silver City, NM – The field of health sciences is expanding by the day, and with it a plethora of career opportunities, and vacancies, that need to be filled. A perfect prospect for southwest New Mexico high school students to explore possible future careers.
The Teen Academy of Health Sciences (TAHS) brought together those health care career opportunities, 19 hopeful students and great educational advancement this summer for three-weeks at Western New Mexico University (WNMU).
Frontier and Rural Workforce Development for New Mexico (FORWARD NM) with WNMU partnered to create the Academy, which was funded, in part, by the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation's Community Investment Fund. The Academy participants qualified for dual enrollment credits, which New Mexico requires for all high school students to qualify for graduation.
Cliff High School senior, Kylene Killough was one of the Academy's participants, "I'm hoping to become a pediatric oncology nurse."
Killough said the Academy gave her a better understanding of her chosen career, because "during the Academy we explored nursing facilities and a medical school."
The field trip to Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces was the favorite experience for many of the students. The students also had intensive preparation in the science portion of the ACT [American College Testing], met with health professionals, participated in psychics and science labs, and received peer-to-peer career counseling from University of New Mexico pre-medical students: Mary Trynee-Canete, Hyesun Choi, and Arlin Bustillos.
TAHS Instructor, Nathan Nolan, praised the students for their gains, "These students weren't absent a single day of the Academy, and as a school teacher I can tell you getting students to school is the largest hurdle. Their perfect attendance made a huge difference academically, as their average ACT scores increased in three weeks from a score of 19 to 26, a 36% increase!"
According to The College Solution Website, a one-point increase on the ACT can translate to up to $24,000 in scholarships and significantly raise a student's chance for admittance into the college of her or his choice.
Silver High sophomore, Jacob Maciel saw the benefit of the Academy. In a previous FORWARD NM program, he learned about medical pilot as a career option. "I researched the need for medical pilots, and there aren't many job openings, so to get prepared I'm looking into being a commercial pilot." He did admit the Academy helped him learn to act under pressure, having to run out of a lab with a burning trashcan.
WNMU Professor Dr. Jeff Hill instructed at several of the Academy laboratories and helped recognize two students for leadership during the Academy: Teresa Medina and Kylene Killough.
In a surprising turn of events WNMU Office of Admissions Devin Stroman and Nolan awarded two students with Executive Scholarships to the university: Desiree Sias and Dominique Escobar.
"We are very proud of the Academy students. Their test scores increased significantly and with the UNM premed students aid, our students have a better grasp of navigating successfully to their chosen future health care career," said Bala Salgado, Director of FORWARD NM.
TAHS graduates included: Jessie Hobby, Dominique Escobar, Isaiah Escobar, Sebastian Escobar, Kylene Killough, Kinan Lopez, Jacob Maciel, Allen Maciel, Bianca Martinez, Teresa Medina, Kennedi Pyper, Toya Oriz, Jezalyn Reyes, Brianna Riley, Alayna Rios, Hayleigh Salgado, Desiree Sias, Presley Tovar, and Danica Valencia.
For more information on TAHS contact Salgado at (575) 597-0030 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.