By: Celene Hernandez
This week sophomore students at Roberto Clemente Community Academy had the opportunity to learn about the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. With careers in STEM having one of the highest rates of job growth potential, this trip was a perfect opportunity to show students what it takes to prepare for a career with longevity. Groups of students rotated throughout the Applied Health Science building to learn about different health occupations, including:
- Health Information Management
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Disability and Human Development
- Biomedical Visualization and Information Sciences
Through various sessions, students were exposed to the academic and professional requirements of the occupations and had an opportunity to work with graduate students and professors through interactive, hands-on activities.
In the Physical Therapy session, students executed different exercises that physical therapists would conduct with actual patients. In one exercise, students practiced agility and balance; in another, they were taught the proper technique to use crutches and had to practice walking with them. The physical therapists reiterated the importance of teaching proper techniques to avoid injury in their patients. Sophomore Lyzette Sanchez said that she was interested in becoming a physical therapist in the future because she has family members who have required physical therapy and would like to help those in need.
The nutrition session shared the importance of being conscious of sugar and calorie intake. Students discovered that a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar which is equivalent to 8.5 teaspoons of sugar. They were shocked to find that a 16 oz bottle of Coca-Cola contains 52 grams of sugar which is equivalent to 13 teaspoons of sugar! The amount of sugar in beverages was astounding, but students were in disbelief when they found how many calories were in food items from Chipotle, Portillo’s, and Shake Shack. Students first predicted the calorie content of a meal, and then were told the actual value. Students could not have guessed that a Chocolate Cake Shake from Portillo’s has almost 2,000 calories! The graduate students in Nutrition shared the importance of being mindful of what is consumed and that most foods are fine in moderation.
The Biomedical Visualization and Information Sciences (B-VIS) session granted Clemente students the opportunity to work with Mudbox, a digital sculpting software used by UIC. The sophomores manipulated 3D figures of cars, lizards, dinosaurs, and human bodies to gain a better understanding of the Biomedical Visualization field. Some of the jobs in this field include sketching surgeries and designing medical graphics for textbooks. Students who want to pursue this career can obtain an undergraduate degree in Art or Graphic Design; they do not have to pursue a traditional science or medicine-related major. As long as students take the required number of science courses in conjunction with their degree requirements, they can be equipped for a career in B-VIS. Sophomore Osiel Delgollado shared that he enjoyed being able to design on a computer and that he might consider a career in the field.
Students had a wonderful opportunity to experience a taste of college and become aware of careers in the applied health field. This trip was an eye-opening experience that introduced students to various career paths in medicine that previously may have seemed unrelated to their personal interests. It is rewarding to see students discover something new and be motivated by what they’ve learned. This is our second year participating in the UIC Health Collaborative and we look forward to continuing this amazing partnership with the university.