KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is giving high school seniors a chance to explore health care careers while earning college credits.
The UNK Department of Biology, UNK Health Sciences and Central Nebraska Area Health Education Center are sponsoring a new Health Sciences Academy to introduce students entering the 12th grade to various health care fields and show them what programs are available at UNK.
“It’s a great opportunity for those high school students who have an interest in health care but don’t necessarily know what the right fit is at this time,” said Brandon Drozd, program coordinator for the Central Nebraska Area Health Education Center, which is located on the UNK campus.
The five-week summer program includes tours of local health care facilities and the Health Science Education Complex shared by UNK and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, networking with health care professionals and two college courses.
Participants will take biology and opportunities in health sciences courses, earning five credit hours, and receive information on health care-related scholarships, including the Kearney Health Opportunities Program (KHOP).
Drozd, who is coordinating the academy, said he wants attendees to learn more about health care professions and the educational paths to follow for each career.
“It’s really just giving them some ideas,” said Drozd, who plans to highlight professions such as physician, physician assistant, nursing, radiography, medical laboratory scientist and physical and occupational therapy. Students will be asked to research careers they’re interested in, as well as areas they’re less familiar with.
The goal, according to UNK Health Sciences Director Peggy Abels, is to help high school seniors narrow their list of career choices before college so they choose the correct academic program and can begin applying for health care-specific scholarships.
Many health sciences careers are projected to see significant job growth in the coming years, making them a popular choice for college students.
“It’s been one of our largest areas of growth at UNK over the past decade and it’s a trend we expect to continue,” said Abels.
The Health Sciences Academy will be held 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays from June 4 through July 5, with the academy concluding Friday, July 6, because of the Fourth of July holiday. It is a commuter program, with no on-campus housing available.
The cost is $75 per credit hour plus fees.
“That’s an excellent value in terms of tuition cost,” Abels said.