By Lisa SimunaciApril 16, 2012
Even so, Army Reserve physicians, dentists and nurses found a receptive audience when they shared the stage with healthcare recruiters at two Florida high schools in March.
"Our students were in awe, their mouths were wide open," said Larry Roziers, executive director of high school programs for Duval County Public Schools. "We have young people still talking about it."
About 300 students from Mandarin and Darnell-Cookman high schools, both with medical education components, attended the schools' first Army Healthcare Career Day. Army Reserve healthcare providers from the 345th Combat Support Hospital served as subject matter experts for the day's event. For most students, it was the first time they had heard about the Army's opportunities for scholarships and professional medical careers.
Orlando Medical Recruiting Company Commander Capt. Joshua de Freitas said the high school engagements provided an opportunity to help students map out their potential medical education at a young age.
"We spend most of our time talking to medical school students and practicing physicians and nurses," de Freitas said. "This was a good chance for us to plant a seed and help guide their educational goals."
Darnell-Cookman Principal Mark E. Ertel said the students were impressed with the benefits the military provided along with the opportunity for different experiences, especially travel.
"The students indicated that the military is now a viable option that they would like to explore as they make their college and career plans," Ertel said. One of the biggest takeaways for students, Ertel said, was that the presenters loved their jobs.
For members of the 345th CSH, the event was a great way to connect with their local community through their military role.
"Our staff members are eager to talk about their careers and share their experiences," said Dana Everitt, staff operations specialist with the 345th CSH. "Medicine can be a little more exciting in the military."
Recruiters and high school leaders hope the career day blooms into more events in the future.
"We envision doing this again with a larger group," Roziers said. "We see this is a partnership that will turn into a long-term relationship."