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Alexandria Kelley, left, works on the mouth of Dexter at Calhoun’s Health Science building.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Alexandria Kelley, left, works on the mouth of Dexter at Calhoun’s Health Science building.

Camp teaches students
about medical careers

By Emily Peck · 340-2442

For most teenagers, summer break is about trips to the beach and sleeping late in the mornings. Not today, however, says 15 year old Morgan Early as she removes stitches inside a nursing lab. For 52 students across North Alabama, this week is "about, finding out what you want to do with the rest of your life."

Early and friend Alex Barbre are participants in a two-day health career camp at Calhoun Community College. The two attend Clements High School in Limestone County.

Along with fellow students, they will engage in seven hands-on learning centers at Calhoun before shadowing workers at Decatur General and Huntsville Hospital.

Nurses and health care professionals walk students through these activities while educating youths on life in the medical field.

Barbre and Early begin their morning in the surgical lab. Here, they both get a chance to remove tootsie-rolls from a mannequin's stomach using endoscopy equipment. Most students seem to learn while having fun as they move from center to center.

"I'm just happy to be here," says Barbre, before taking heart rates in the next lab.

Most students are participants in the camp because they're thinking about careers in medicine. Barbre's interest began after he hurt his wrist lifting weights.

He says the time spent in physical therapy showed him that medicine is really what he wants to do.

This kind of enthusiasm is just what coordinator Barbara Bozeman hopes the camp will achieve. "The need for healthcare professionals is growing," says Bozeman, "and it's important to expose students to medicine at a young age."

Types of opportunites

The camp also shows youngsters the number of opportunities available to them in the medical field.

"Most kids don't realize that there are other careers out there besides just being a nurse or a doctor," says Bozeman.

The camp is part of Calhoun's Alternate Health Education Asynchronous Delivery project. AHEAD is the result of a $2.5 million grant given to the school by the U.S. Department of Labor. The money makes nursing and radiology lectures available online while also providing programs like the one this June.

The high school camp will be held again next summer.

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