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Graduate students invite teens to consider health-related careers

by Meleeneh Kazarian

First-year medical student John Mahajan discusses opportunities for pursuing a career in medicine with students at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School on April 14. The event was sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate Governing Council.

Photo/Meleeneh Kazarian

More than 25 Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School students recently attended a student career panel to hear about the personal experiences that led several USC students to pursue graduate education.

The April 14 event, sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) Governing Council, featured eight USC students from pharmacy, public health, dentistry, occupational therapy and medicine.

During the two-hour panel session, Kate Swartz, a first-year public health student, described being an undergraduate at an all-female university, how she came to choose USC for graduate school, and her interest in health communication—specifically about her passion for anti-smoking education.

Later, first-year medical student John Mahajan urged the younger students to shadow a physician and volunteer in a hospital in order to learn more about the field, and Jasmine Walton, first-year dental student, explained how she chose to apply to dental school because of her love for arts and crafts.

“That’s so cool!” exclaimed one high school student as Yasmin Alia Khan, a second-year public health student, shared her global health research experience in Africa and discussed opportunities for students to study abroad.

After hearing from each panel member, the high school students asked about undergraduate course work, scholarship opportunities, and specific requirements for each graduate school program.

They also shared their personal ambitions to pursue careers in the health sciences, including physical therapy and neurosurgery.

Many of the students said they had read books by physicians or had shadowed health care professionals in order to experience a day in the life of a doctor first-hand.

Swartz said she was impressed with the high school students, adding, “I was stunned by the intelligence of the young men and women that I met there. I am confident that they will be the hard working medical students of tomorrow.”

Sonya Soni, second-year public health master’s student and GPSS community service chair added, “After spending quality time with some of the students after the event, they informed me how grateful they were to hear words of wisdom and insight.”

Mahajan described participating on the panel as a “great experience. It was incredibly exciting to see high school students so enthusiastic about health professions. I think it will be a great opportunity for HSC students to become involved with Bravo in the future.”

Graduate students invite teens to consider health-related careers

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