Understanding the resources for a career in a health care field was the goal of The University Center of the Mountains (UCM) during its Annual Regional Health Care Career Conference on Sept. 29 at Hazard Community and Technical College.
UCM Executive Director Dr. Deronda Mobelini noted there are many options in the areas of physical and mental/social health care for students who want to stay in the region; therefore, with the help of UCM partners, the opportunity to explore various career options and the degrees that lead to those careers were provided to students during a one-day multiple-session conference style workshop, so students could meet and learn from educators.
More than 260 high school student participated in the morning sessions from: Cordia, Hazard, Jackson City, Knott County, Owsley County, Perry County, and Wolfe County, as well as Leslie County Area Technology Center and Knott County Area Technology Center students.
High school students learned what they need to do academically to prepare for the field, how HCTC can support them in reaching their goals through transfer, and how to be successful as an applicant and as a student. Sessions were repeated in the afternoon for Hazard Community and Technical College students so they had an opportunity to meet with and receive program specific advising in preparation for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program, often with graduate programs as the long-term goal.
Dr. David McKenzie, Department Head of Clinical Sciences for Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, made a special trip to Eastern Kentucky to serve as a presenter for this regional event. “Holding an event of this magnitude is tremendously beneficial to all participants,” observed Dr. McKenzie. “I was greatly impressed by the range of programs offered, the well maintained and well equipped facilities, and the dedicated faculty and staff I met. The community college and the University Center of the Mountains provide an exceptional opportunity for higher education that people living in a relatively isolated part of the state might not have access to otherwise.”
The thirteen sessions and presenters were: Nursing/Imagining Sciences with Telissa Frazier of Morehead State University, Physical Therapy with LeeAnn Helton of UK, Medical Laboratory Science with Dr. Michelle Butina of UK, Pharmacy with Jillian L. Gairing of Sullivan University, Physician Assistant with UK’s Julia Flannery, University of the Cumberlands’ Physician Assistant program with Dr. Paul Currie, Dentistry with UK’s Dr. Nikki Stone and Miranda Thomas Scurlock, Social Work with UK’s Jessica Williamson, Human Services and Counseling with Lindsey Wilson’s Tommie Saragast, Billie Robinson, and Joe Campbell, Occupational Therapy with EKU’s Dr. Julie Baltisberger, Medical School with UK’s Dr. Mike Witt and Mike Gayheart, Health Care Administration with Midway University’s Charles Housley, and Veterinary Science with Tuskegee University’s Dr. David McKenzie.
At the end of the day, Dr. Michelle Butina, one of the presenters and the Program Director for UK’s Medical Laboratory Science Bachelor’s degree program, shared this observation: “The University Center of the Mountains has developed an exceptional partnership model that provides amazing opportunities for those living in Eastern Kentucky to attend a variety of colleges while remaining local. The Medical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Kentucky is honored to be one of those partners and presenters at the annual conference.”