By TAYLOR HARTZ and TAMMI NAUDUS
More than 100 Southington High School students took the opportunity to learn more about careers in medicine last week, through the Chamber of Commerce’s Training for Tomorrow program.
The program, which has partnered with SHS for years to help secure local internships for students, took a different approach this year to help those with a more specific interest.
For students who hope to go into the medical field, securing an internship can be difficult. Rather than denying these students the opportunity to learn about their career options, the Chamber “thought outside the box”, said Dave Pestillo, Vice Chairman of the Chamber.
Facing a great deal of restrictions on medical internships, Pestillo said they “decided to bring the internship experience, albeit somewhat altered, to the students, for a taste of what the medical field is all about.”
On Feb. 26, three guests spoke to a group of local high school students from all grades who were interested in studying medicine.
Joe Peccerillo, MD, Katie Quinn, a Physician’s Assistant, and Jasdeep Khalsa, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, shared details of their education, experiences, and current careers.
The students, many of them in grade 9, asked the speakers a variety of questions about the lengthy education requirements and ranges in income for different positions.
Kristen Shubert, an 11th grade student who interned at Yale New Haven Hospital last summer, and hopes to go into dermatology, said she was happy to explore the many opportunities to work in medicine.
“I learned today that there are so many different fields, there are a lot of different options, it’s not that hard to switch if you change your mind,” said Shubert.
For some students, the event reaffirmed their career plans.
“The schooling behind it is a lot, but if you do it right you can get a lot out of it,” said senior Jimmy Terray.
Terray plans to take his EMT exam this weekend, and said the program confirmed that he would like to work in emergency medicine. “It seems very worthwhile, you would help out a lot of people in the process which is what I love to do,” said Terray.
For others, the Training for Tomorrow program allowed students to learn about other paths.
“My whole life, I was wanting to become a pharmacist, but I found out it may not be what I wanted after all,” said SHS senior Nathan Truong.
The 12th grader said he was happy to see students in grades 9 and 10 taking advantage of an opportunity to learn more about their options early on. Truong said that he wants to continue exploring more options in medicine, including physical therapy, and hopes “to just keep expanding my horizons,” through similar programs and opportunities.
While more than 500 students signed up for the Training for Tomorrow program this year, nearly one-fifth benefited from the presentation on Feb. 26. The Chamber hopes that their teamwork with SHS will continue to allow students to explore all their options, and get a taste for potential careers before committing.
“Just like it’s important to test-drive a car before you buy it, I think it’s equally important to test-drive a career before investing tens of thousands of dollars into a college degree,” said Pestillo.
Photos by TAMMI NAUDUS
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