Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine hosts health career presentations

Shanice Vennable

Shanice Vennable, a nursing student at Jefferson College of Health Sciences, has found her academic program to be perfectly suited for her. "I get to learn in brand-new classrooms and labs from some of the best professors around," she says. "And when I graduate, I'll have lots of job opportunities because nurses are needed in every part of the country."

A career in health care is within reach. That is the message the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine hopes to impart to high school and college students who may -- or, more significantly, may not -- be considering a career in health care.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Jefferson College of Health Sciences are teaming up to host "Within Reach," a program of health career presentations on November 22 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Local high school and college students are encouraged to attend with their families, as well as high school guidance counselors, teachers, and administrators.

Representatives from both schools will give short presentations on a range of health career fields, the education required to achieve those careers, and the steps students can take in high school and college to facilitate entrance into the relevant academic programs.

Dr. David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, said he hopes a diverse audience will attend. "We believe that many students who are already interested in medicine as a career will attend," he said. "'Within Reach' will be a great opportunity for them to make sure they're taking the right steps to get to their goal. But we also want to encourage the attendance of those who haven't thought about health care before or who may think it's out of their reach. We hope to make an impact on those students especially."

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine representatives will discuss the school's medical degree program, including the four-year curriculum, the admission requirements, and the steps students can take to increase their likelihood of acceptance.

"The medical school admissions process is very competitive, but that shouldn't deter high school and college students from pursuing it," said Stephen Workman, associate dean for admissions and administration at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. "We want to walk students through the steps of what they can do now and in the next few years to lay out a plan to increase their likelihood of acceptance into medical school and for later success in the field."

In addition, representatives from Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS), which has a partnership with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, will introduce the school's degrees, which range from associate's degrees to master's degrees.

"There are a variety of options for students based on their interests and the time they can allot to school before entering the workforce," said Judith McKeon, director of admissions for JCHS. "As an added bonus, many of the career options that stem from our academic tracks are in high demand, increasing the opportunity for employment after graduation."

JCHS offers three two-year associate's degree programs in occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant, and respiratory therapy. For bachelor's degree programs, students can specialize in biomedical sciences, emergency services, health and exercise science, healthcare management, health psychology, nursing, and respiratory therapy. Finally, JCHS offers master's degree programs in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant.

"Our goal is to show students that a career in medicine is a real choice," Trinkle said. "They can learn the steps, create a plan, and even gain some mentors in the process."

The presentations from each school will take place in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine auditorium. Audience members will have an opportunity to pose questions to both presenters and current students.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute joins the basic science, life science, bioinformatics, and engineering strengths of Virginia Tech with the medical practice and medical education experience of Carilion Clinic. Virginia Tech Carilion is located in a new biomedical health sciences campus in Roanoke at 2 Riverside Circle.