Morgan Beck, a senior at Lyndon Institute, got an early start this summer preparing for college. Beck, who is interested in a career in health care, was one of two dozen students who spent six weeks learning about the vast variety of health professions and living like a college student at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland. The program, CollegeQuest to Health Careers, is free to students who qualify, and is making a difference for students who want to go on after high school and study health sciences.
"CollegeQuest helped to broaden my horizons," said Beck. "Hearing from panels of professionals and talking with different health care providers did that."
College Quest students meet health professionals from many different disciplines, research the right college pathway for them to the career of their dreams, and work on applications to the colleges of their choice. Students visit health science programs at regional colleges, study human biology, and spend time doing dissections and other lab activities.
Thanks to the generosity of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at the federal Bureau of Health Professions, students also earn a $1,485 stipend for successfully completing the program.
"We've found that after CollegeQuest, students plan to take more advanced math and science courses heading into their senior year, are more knowledgeable about career opportunities in health care, and have more confidence in preparing a college application," says Nicole LaPointe, executive director of the Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and the CollegeQuest project director. "We are staying in touch with students through their senior year, and finding that they are entering college at a much higher rate than might otherwise be expected."
There is a growing need for health professionals in Vermont. Health care practice is changing rapidly. With the introduction of new technologies and enhanced practice models, there are more and increasingly diverse opportunities within this sector to appeal to a variety of student interests.
When choosing a location to practice, health care professionals are influenced by where they were raised and educated. This is why the Vermont Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) invest in motivated Vermont students to fill the future health care workforce needs of the state. With program partners like the Community College of Vermont (CCV), the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) and the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine, students at CollegeQuest are improving their chances of success.
For more information about projects and programs of the Northeastern Vermont AHEC, visit www.nevahec.org.