The excited visitors arrive at Cincinnati Children’s in groups of three: two students and their science teacher.
Hospital employees in patient care and research roles stand ready to offer them a day filled with information and inspiration.
The Science Student Symposium — now in its 25th year — gives high school juniors and seniors with a strong interest in science the opportunity to learn about careers in biomedical sciences from professional staff at Cincinnati Children’s.
Exploring Career Options in the Health Sciences
Cindy Bachurski, PhD, directs the program. When the Science Student Symposium began, Dr. Bachurski says, it focused on career paths for physicians. Today, the program’s scope has expanded to include a wide range of career options in the health sciences. Many departments volunteer professional staff time to make the symposium a valuable experience for students nearing their college years.
Students gain insight into educational requirements, career paths and salary potential from biomedical professionals who work in many disciplines.
They meet physicians, dentists, nurses, radiology technologists, pharmacists, occupational and physical therapists, respiratory therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists, psychologists, genetic counselors, cytogeneticists and biomedical researchers.
They also get to go behind the scenes into the pharmacy, radiology department, clinical and research laboratories and operating rooms for a firsthand look at the work environment. And at lunchtime, they have the chance for informal conversations with specialists in the field they’re interested in.
Elizabeth Ludwig, biology teacher at Oak Hills High School, brings two students from her advanced placement biology class annually. Over the years, she has brought students who’ve set their sights on careers in medicine, physical therapy and psychology.
“It’s such a great program,” she says, because the students “actually talk to professionals and see what they’re doing. They don’t often have that experience. It’s really valuable for them.”