Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman was the keynote speaker for the Health Career Opportunity Programs (HCOP) and Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative closing ceremonies Friday. More than 200 middle school, high school and college students and their families attended the event held at the UConn Health Center.
A research symposium and poster presentations were also part of the event which marked the culmination of weeks of research and clinical internships for the aspiring physicians, dentists and scientists.
“You are going into the best field ever because as much as you’re going to give, you’re going to get back,” said Wyman. “There are a lot of people out there that need you.”
Wyman told the students she started her career in health care. She was a candy striper in high school and then later became an x-ray technician – at the time, a male-dominated field. “When you decide what you want to do, look at not only what is happening now, think about what could be happening in the future, where you want to be and how you want to serve the community.”
Dr. Marja Hurley, associate dean and director of HCOP, introduced Wyman and Dr. Nisar Zaidi, a 2008 UConn School of Medicine grad who is now a general surgeon at Central Maine Medical Center, gave alumni welcoming remarks.
Greetings were given by Dr. R. Lamont McNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine and Dr. Frank Torti, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the UConn School of Medicine, who told the students, “All of you are gifted folks who can do many things. But there is nothing more important, there is nothing more satisfying in life, than helping other people.”
The UConn Health Center’s Health Career Opportunity Programs (HCOP) are designed to raise awareness and proficiency in science among Connecticut students from diverse backgrounds, provide them a mentoring and support system, and encourage them to pursue health professional careers.
- Great Explorations (7th and 8th graders)
- Jumpstart (9th and 10th graders)
- Junior Doctors Academy (11th graders)
- Senior Doctors Academy (12th graders)
- High School Student Research Apprentice Program (juniors and seniors)
- Pre-College Enrichment Program (incoming freshmen at UConn)
- College Enrichment Program (rising UConn sophomores)
- Health Disparities Clinical Summer Research Fellowship Program (college sophomores, juniors, seniors, or recent graduates)
- Medical/Dental Preparatory Program (college sophomores, juniors, seniors, or recent graduates)
- Summer Research Fellowship Program (college students and recent grads)