Pictures from Sessions 1-3 are available by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page:
“About 50 teens from across North Carolina were introduced to public health this summer, thanks to the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s 2014 Summer Public Health Symposium for High School Students.
In the process, the students experienced the joys of college life, including “making new friends,” “exploring the UNC campus,” and “confirming that I want to go to college,” but they were surprised by some of the challenges — “how different dorm life is from home” and “having to walk a lot between classes.”
The Gillings School’s Office of Student Affairs hosted the event, now in its third year. Planned and led by Trinnette Cooper, MPH, CHES, coordinator for diversity programs and recruitment at the School, the program offered – this year, for the first time – three separate two-day sessions, held on June 30-July 1, July 7-8 and July 14-15.
Applicants to the program, who described themselves as being interested in attending college and pursuing a health career, were asked to submit three essays, their grade point averages and recommendation letters. They lived in a dormitory, ate at campus dining halls, and attended seminars on public health topics including diversity education and public health, clinical trials, health disparities and others.“During each session, we exposed students to the field of public health, described our Bachelor of Science in Public Health programs, engaged the group in leadership development activities, and of course, visited the undergraduate admissions office while touring the UNC campus,” Cooper said. “Each gathering ended with small-group presentations about a public health topic, and the students were phenomenal in demonstrating what they learned.”
Most of the surveyed students expressed surprise that public health issues were so much a part of their daily lives.
“Without realizing it, everything we know about safety and cleanliness is part of public health,” said Nikita Revankar, a student at the Early College at Guilford in Greensboro. “Public health professionals work extremely hard to prevent and control problems.”
The students especially commented on units about health disparities and clinical trials.
“My favorite part was the health disparity section,” said Brittany Davis, of Warren New Tech High School, in Warrenton. “I didn’t know any of that information.”
Frances Crouch, of Middle College at Bennett, in Greensboro, liked the clinical trials unit “because I learned about North Carolinians’ health overall.”
At the end of the July 14-15 symposium, several students reported feeling confident that they would seek careers as an emergency room physician, obstetrician, surgeon, dentist, psychologist, biologist, biomedical engineer, hospital administrator, or maternal and child health expert.
The logistics of living in a dorm, getting to class on time, learning to adapt to others’ styles and working in a group in the classroom were seen as worthwhile, if unexpected, challenges.
“Being here opened up my eyes to the reality that I’ll be living in a dorm,” said Jade Hampton, of Union County Early College in Waxhaw. “And dorms aren’t like living at home.”
“Trying to get together a 10-minute presentation in less than two days meant it was time to get serious and collaborate with your teammates,” Davis said. “I learned how to work with people that have a different mindset than you. It was a good way to learn team-building.”
“I learned that college is really what you make it,” said Adrianne Nicole Mitchell, of Lake Norman Charter School, in Charlotte. “You will really be your own boss, and you need to make the best of it.”
Sierra Arant, of Hendersonville High School, in Hendersonville, spoke for several students who reported being grateful for the chance to experience college life and to meet people who were students in college or medical school.
“I met many people who have graduated from UNC and also graduated from medical school,” said Arant, whose goal is to become a surgeon and director of a hospital. “I talked to them, and they shared their experiences with me. It was honestly an amazing opportunity. Thank you so much!”
“Trinnette and her team did an outstanding job running the summer symposium program, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the program expands under her leadership,” said Charletta Sims Evans, MEd, assistant dean for student affairs at the Gillings School. “She arranged rich and informative experiences for these young men and women who will be our future leaders in public health and medicine.”
The Summer Public Health Symposium for High School Students received financial support from the Gillings School, the Jesse Ball duPont Fund and the UNC Health Affairs Pipeline Partnership Initiative (HAPPI).
Pictures from Sessions 1-3 are available by clicking on the links below: