Pacific is connecting with health care academies across Northern California to help high school students experience the array of dynamic career possibilities within the realm of health care. “Speaking from personal experience, I understand the limited perception many people have when it comes to health care careers,” said Marisella Guerrero ’98, PharmD, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice. “Having worked in various areas of pharmacy myself and also witnessing colleagues branch out within our field, provides me with a unique perspective on how diverse a health care career can really be. Even if students are unsure whether a health care career is for them, there are so many opportunities within health care, they are bound to find something they enjoy and are passionate about.”

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Benjamin Reece ’01’08, MS, CCC-SLP, director of clinical education and assistant clinical professor of speech-language pathology, is excited to introduce students to his field. “There is not a general understanding of what a speech-language pathologist does or the different settings in which we serve,” he said.

Echoing his sentiments, Preeti Deshpande Oza, PT, PhD, NCS, assistant professor of physical therapy, shared how students have responded after her presentation on physical therapy. “Some have remarked that they did not know physical therapists worked in the hospital or intensive care unit,” said Dr. Oza. A common misconception is physical therapists work almost exclusively with injured athletes. Through these tours, students become aware that therapists are movement specialists who work with patients in many different settings.

A highlight of the tours is the interactive virtual reality demonstrations. With the help of Innovation Spaces Coordinator Jeremy Hanlon, who supervises The Cube, and Health Sciences Librarian Kate Finnegan, students dissect virtual healthy and unhealthy organs or explore neurological and skeletal systems. Students also learn how audiology is at the intersection of science, technology and patient care from Gail Amornpongchai, AuD, clinical director of audiology for Stockton, and Jan de la Cruz ’18, AuD.

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Finnegan believes the rich cultural diversity found in the Central Valley is a valuable resource for the future of health care. Exposing high school students to a wide range of careers within health care removes the mystery that may surround these professions. Reece shared, “Based on my experience working in the public-school system, I know many students do not see themselves as future college students or as future health care practitioners. It is important to show them how accessible Pacific is and that they can pursue higher education, specifically in health care related fields.”

These tours help students picture themselves as future athletic trainers, audiologists, pharmacists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists. “Each visitor receives a personal experience on campus with students, faculty and staff,” said Stephanie Anderson-Barroso, recruiting specialist. “Guests share their positive impressions and memories of Pacific with their family, friends and communities, creating a priceless ripple effect.”


By Anne Marie H. Bergthold
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