All throughout the four years of being in high school, students may start preparing for college by utilizing different programs for their interests in certain career paths. There are many opportunities in the Lee’s Summit R-7 school district for students to do just that. Some options include Summit Technology Academy, the A+ Program, and DECA.
For students looking to go into the medical and health field, HOSA is one option for those students. HOSA, which stands for Health Occupations Students of America, now known as Future Health Professionals, is an international student organization that promotes opportunities in the healthcare industry, according to hosa.org.
Students who live in the R-7 school district go to HOSA meetings at Summit Technology Academy. The meetings are directed by Fred Wilson.
“In our case at Summit Technology Academy, students are able to investigate health careers they wish to pursue. HOSA Future Health Professionals allows students the opportunity to take their interest further and be self-driven to research their choices,” Wilson said.
Within the program, Wilson said students have many opportunities beyond just the desire to pursue a health career.
“There are also opportunities for students to enter into service projects individually or corporately. Students can be exposed to meeting with healthcare leaders, set up the service project, and organize marketing to promote the project,” Wilson said. HOSA also has competitions in which students are able to compete.
Wilson said students can attend leadership seminars and breakout sessions in areas that they are interested in. There is a wide range of healthcare professions that compete. It can be anywhere from EMT to Veterinary Medicine to Medical Research to Rehabilitation Sciences.
“Some of these areas have included resume writing, interviewing skills, mock health care delivery, learning how to approach diverse patient populations, and many others,” Wilson said.
Not only does HOSA have benefits for those wishing to pursue a career in the health/medical field, but there are also multiple college benefits. Wilson said that there are scholarships available and students have had the opportunity to network with college students from various leadership conferences.
For those who wish to sign up for HOSA, they can fill out an application on hosa.org and send it to Wilson.
“In order to run for an office or compete, students must pay membership dues to the local chapter….students may also join as a non-member by coming to meetings and supporting the efforts and activities. These students usually assist the competing students in preparing for their events at leadership conferences,” Wilson said.
There are monthly local chapter meetings that take place at Summit Technology Academy with student leadership and general membership, an annual state leadership conference in March close to spring break, and an international leadership conference in June each year, according to Wilson.
One student in particular that joined this year is senior Seth Keep. He said he heard about the program from some of his friends last year and had another friend that graduated recommend that he join.
“I joined HOSA for the exposure and opportunity it would offer me that was centered around the medical field. I was intrigued by the opportunity for competition and the knowledge I would gain from the experience,” Keep said. Being so new to the program, Keep said it can get overwhelming, but always has someone there to help him out along the way.
“Although I just joined, HOSA has already proven to be a fun opportunity to hang out with friends, even those from other schools. It offers valuable exposure and experience for those interested in the medical field, as well as a knowledge-based environment that encourages growth and interaction,” Keep said. He said he appreciates the opportunity for self-guided exploration and decision making, and recommends it to anyone that is interested.
Another among the many students that attend HOSA meetings is senior Maryam Khalil.
“I joined HOSA because I am interested in the medical field and I heard about it from my friend at another school…it shows me what I can do in the vast field of medicine,” Khalil said. She said she plans on becoming a neurosurgeon, neurologist, politician, or civil rights lawyer. Two of those professions fall into the category that HOSA can set students on the path to becoming.
Not only does she just participate in the program, but she is the Vice President of the program as well. She said that she helps plan the meetings alongside the President. Planning those meetings sets them up for the entire year.
“We discuss the game plan for the state competition and help our members select which competition they are going to compete in,” Khalil said. Being in the program does take a lot of hard work, but Khalil said that it really is a fun experience where students can discover all of the opportunities that lie in the medical field.
“It is all up to you; if you want to be first, you have to put in the right amount of work. If you are doing it for fun, then you can put in a minimal amount of work,” Khalil said.
HOSA may sound like the perfect fit for a lot of students, and it’s not too late to sign up. Khalil said students can contact her, Carleigh Belz (President of HOSA), or Wilson for more information.
“It is a fun, great experience that can easily be balanced into any schedule, whether busy or not,” Khalil said.