HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. (DC News Now) — In West Virginia’s eastern panhandle high school students are putting healthcare careers on a fast track.
Their ticket is STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and math.
Jazmyn Brown is graduating from Hedgesville High School this year and is getting a head start on a nursing career.
“I’ve helped family members that have been sick,” said Brown, “And I really liked helping them. You know, being able to take care of them. So I decided that’s something I really want to do.”
Jazmyn said she is focused on and challenged by her STEM learning curriculum.
“Math, I would say, has been my biggest struggle,” said Brown. “But I am really working on it.”
With the help of her teachers.
“My students do a lot of community health,” said Maria Domenick, a teacher at Hedgesville High. “Different concerns they have observed. They see something and get some data about it and analyze it.”
The Health Sciences and Technology Academy promotes diversity in the healthcare fields and on a global scale.
“These kids get the opportunity to enter into high-value healthcare careers,” said Aaron Ruffner with West Virginia University. “We looking at students who are underrepresented in the profession, African-Americans, Hispanics, low-income, first-generation students, rural students. We want to make sure that these kids when they get out of college, come back home. But they also matriculate to other parts of the world.”
This West Virginia model is being emulated by other states. APIS Creative, a partner with WVU on the academy venture, has taken the model to Alabama and Arkansas where it has been embraced.