Health Sciences Career Day Gives High School Students Insight into Healthcare Professions

Students experience hands-on explorative sessions, dive into information about healthcare fields

  • IL - Downers Grove
Students conduct vision test during the optometry session.

High school students learn how to check which eye is their dominant eye. 

Midwestern University offers an annual Health Sciences Career Day for local area high school students with interactive sessions that give them insight into a variety of healthcare fields and a chance to explore and experience the facilities at the University. The attending schools included Addison Trail High School, Crane High School, Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove South High School, Fox Valley Career Center, Glenbard South High School, Joliet West High School, Maine East High School, Maine South High School, Maine West High School, Minooka High School, Naperville North High School, St. Charles North High School, Westmont High School, and Willowbrook High School. 


Dr. Alabsy supervises a student during the dental session.
Melisa Alabsy, D.D.S., M.H.A., Director of Preclinical Curriculum, College of Dental Medicine - Illinois (CDMI), supervises a high school student during the dental session.


The high school students had a multitude of learning experiences. They practiced drilling and filling a plastic tooth in the dental simulation lab, and in the anatomy lab, the high school students discovered more about the central nervous and musculoskeletal systems, as well as the thoracic and abdominal cavities. They also had the opportunity to visit the Simulation Center, where one of the activities included interacting with a manikin as a mock patient session.  The students also had the chance to rotate among four stations in the Core Facility and observe demonstrations involving instruments used in biomedical research such as histology equipment (studying organs and tissues via staining, sectioning, and observing), flow cytometry instruments (fast analysis of the cells in a solution), microscopes, and the 3D-scanner. The high school students also heard about career options, ways to prepare for healthcare education, and participated in activities in several other healthcare fields including psychology, optometry, osteopathic manipulative medicine, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and physical therapy.


Students participate in simulations with a manikin, which is a part of the experience of the current Midwestern University healthcare students in their coursework.
Students participate in simulations with a manikin, which is a part of the experience of the current Midwestern University healthcare students in their coursework. 


Biomedical Sciences student Naomi Rajesh (CGS ’24) attended a past Health Sciences Career Day when she was in high school. “It’s nostalgic being back with my high school anatomy teacher and taking the students around the campus. My teacher’s class made me want to study medicine. It’s nice for him to see that I’ve progressed so much.” Reflecting on her experience of visiting Midwestern University as a high school student, she said, “It was nice to see where medicine can take you, and I thought at the time, can I do that? I like that I had the feasibility to explore healthcare options at a school that offered them.” Naomi also shared, “The dreams we have in high school and before may take many years to achieve, but they are possible if they stick to it with a lot of hard work and determination.” 

Naomi spent the day with her sister Norah Rajesh, a senior at Downers Grove North High School. Norah said she enjoyed sharing this experience with her sister and appreciated that the sessions were hands-on, and that the students had the opportunity to experience many aspects of a variety of careers. Norah is interested in studying physical therapy, and said, “It was interesting to see how they use different techniques to treat a patient.”  

Chris Guerrieri, an Anatomy and Physiology teacher at Downers Grove North High School, taught Naomi and is currently teaching Norah. He commented, “Midwestern offers a well-rounded experience that allows students interested in healthcare professions many opportunities to see what they want to do and get a feeling for health science.” Mr. Guerrieri said he hopes the students will take away from the experience “excitement for different professions in health sciences.” He also said the experience will give high school students guidance as they plan their future academic and possibly healthcare careers. 

Angelina Antonio, a senior at Downers Grove North High School, found the information about preparing for healthcare degrees and Midwestern University requirements beneficial to her future plans. “The physical assistant presentation was descriptive on how to get into healthcare school. It showed me what to look for when I apply to a physical therapy program. There was a lot of useful information, like the prerequisites,” Angelina said.  


Students learn to distinguish the normal and abnormal sounds of the heart and lungs.
Students learn to distinguish the normal and abnormal sounds of the heart and lungs.


Events such as the Health Science Career Day serve to let high school students know about the variety of opportunities in the healthcare field, as well as the ways an education at Midwestern University can help them along their career paths. Midwestern University provides a variety of degrees and programs in Downers Grove and Glendale. along with opportunities for research as a part of the University’s commitment to support healthcare education.

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