Students Learn About Health Care Careers at UW Summer Camp

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Area high school students learned about health care careers during a recent weeklong camp at the University of Wyoming. From left, McKinlee Haslauer, of Cheyenne; Aubrey MacDougall, of Bear River; Dulce Aldana, of Evanston; Tekoa Rohde, of Cheyenne; and Rachel Linde, of Cheyenne, work with Ivinson Memorial Hospital medical staff to learn how to administer injections at one of nine different hospital learning stations. (Marivern Easton Photo)

LARAMIE– Forty-three high school students from Wyoming and the surrounding area attended the WWAMI Healthcare Careers Summer Camp on the University of Wyoming’s campus, learning about a wide variety of careers in health care that they may pursue in the future.

The one-week camp, held earlier this month, offered students the opportunity to learn about health care careers by listening to presentations, interacting with medical professionals and taking part in hands-on activities such as CPR training and sports medicine.

Students learned about the requirements needed to enter many health care career fields, including necessary education, training and certification. During the camp, faculty members from the College of Health Sciences, as well as local health care providers, participated in presenting information about human anatomy, microbiology, pharmacy, nursing, optometry and assistive technology used to aid individuals with disabilities.

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Marivern Easton, the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) Medical Education Program assistant director at UW, has directed the Healthcare Careers Summer Camp for nine years.

“Our hope is that students will be motivated to work hard in high school and think seriously about pursuing a health care career,” Easton says.

Wyoming Faces Critical Shortage of Health Care Professionals

Wyoming, like many rural states, is facing a critical shortage of health care workers. The shortage will worsen as the baby boomer generation ages. The key, according to Easton, is to identify, recruit, train and retain Wyoming residents.

“If we can generate enthusiasm among high school-aged students and support them as they pursue education and training opportunities, we have a much stronger possibility of eventually employing them as health care workers throughout Wyoming,” she says.

Tatum Zimmerman, a senior at Worland High School, says the WWAMI Medical Education Program’s anatomy lab was the most interesting part of her experience while at the Healthcare Careers Summer Camp.

“The most interesting part was getting to work in the cadaver lab,” she says. “It was awesome to see the real-life anatomy from a perspective that isn’t just textbook pictures.”

Morgan Zediker, a junior from Rock Springs High School, has a family connection to health care education. Her mother is pursuing a nursing degree at Western Wyoming Community College in her hometown. Zediker says the camp helped reveal more health education options available to her.

“I feel like it gave me a chance to really see the educational side of things,” she says. “It also really gave me a broader outlook on just how many options I have.”

Bridger Bleak, a senior at Laramie High School, learned about the camp from his school counselor. While the camp experience helped students explore many health care career options, Bleak appreciated the new career perspectives the camp gave him.

“I haven’t completely decided yet,” he says, “but I am a little more serious about pursuing a health care career now.”

The camp was made possible through partnerships with the UW College of Health Sciences, Ivinson Memorial Hospital, the Wyoming State Office of Rural Health, Snowy Range Vision Center, Donor Alliance and the Laramie Fire Department. 

For more information about the camp, email Easton at measton3@uwyo.edu or visit www.uwyo.edu/wwami/summercamp/summercamp/index.html.

Students who participated in the camp, listed by hometowns, were:

  • Bar Nunn — Jean Roberts-Palmer
  • Bear River — Aubrey MacDougall
  • Casper — Abby Boatman and Kaya Jolley
  • Cheyenne — Gabriel Chalmers, McKinlee Haslauer, Rachel Linde, Tekoa Rohde, Kinsey Smith and Ava Winners
  • Cody — Braydon Bond and Eliza Payne
  • Cokeville — Devyn Donahue
  • Conifer, Colo. — Kasey Basile
  • Evanston — Dulce Aldana
  • Fort Collins, Colo. — Alexander Goeltl, Colter Marcy and Christian Scandrett
  • Gillette — Paul Baeza
  • Kemmerer — Morgan Van Der Zalm
  • Lander – Hayden Johnson, Tori Newton, Aspen Thomas, Chelsea West and Skyler Woodruff
  • Laramie — Bridger Bleak, Paige James, Caroline Krause and Makelle Upchurch
  • Longmont, Colo. — Sophia Ellis and Skylar Harris
  • Midwest — Sheridan Vaughn
  • Mountain View — Mia Tucker
  • Rawlins — Katelyn France
  • Rock Springs — Abbie Erramouspe, Abby Hautala, Alexandra Moeller, Ashlee Mohar, Julianna Pizzato and Morgan Zediker
  • Saratoga — Riley Little
  • Sundance — Sherry Negaard
  • Worland — Tatum Zimmerman