On Nov. 18, the science atrium was filled with nearly 100 health sciences students to take part in the program’s first information session on career opportunities in various health fields. Entitled “Conversations in Health”, the event was created to allow students to interact with health professionals in a number of fields.
With approximately 180 students enrolled in first and second-year in the program, having such a high turnout was important to Health Sciences Students’ Association president Latif Murji. “That’s an unbelievable turnout,” he said, noting that many first-years had a chemistry exam the next day and still attended.
“That’s something that’s so special about our program is that it’s brand new and everyone is so close-knit, everyone comes out to everything and is really enthusiastic.”
Associate dean of science and health sciences program co-ordinator Rick Elliott explained that the event was about showcasing alternative career paths.
“We knew when we designed the program that the bulk of students who registered in it would be thinking medicine and becoming doctors,” he explained.
“The reality of this situation is probably five per cent of people who start out with that as a career in mind actually end up being accepted into med school.”
“From day one we wanted to provide them with opportunities where they could
see that there is a wealth of health-related careers that don’t necessarily involve an ‘MD’ after your name.”
Elliott was involved in the creation of the program two years ago and emphasized the importance of having students meet people in many different health-related fields, including Laurier alumni. “That was the point,” he said, glancing at the tables around the atrium filled with groups of students. The students rotated around the room and met with a sample of guests.
“There’s two alumna in each group, there’s somebody that works in a hospital in each group, there’s someone who’s had to do extensive postgraduate work. We balanced it over all of those dimensions.”
Second year health science student Mike Mikhaeil was satisfied with what he gained from the evening. “I got a lot out of it,” he said. “I was exposed to different health care professions, a lot of things I’d heard of before but didn’t really know what they were.”
“I’m trying to be open-minded and this helped me see what’s out there.”
Laurier alumnus and health entrepreneur Marlene Wynnick, who operates a local health product company, explained that students were receptive of what she had to say. “It gives them a wide variety of options and maybe helps to open a window they wouldn’t otherwise have looked through,” she said.