Health professions fair highlights student opportunities

Story by Michelle Hawks, Contributing writer

Fifteen universities, the army and the air force sent representatives to Murray State on Wednesday, Sept. 28, for the Health Professions Fair.

The fair was hosted by Purchase Area Health Education Center (Purchase AHEC) and included a variety of programs. Shanna Burgess is the outreach coordinator.

Jenny Rohl/TheNews

Jenny Rohl/TheNews

Burgess said for universities, a large part of attending these fairs is not only meeting potential students, but also informing them about their programs.

Jennifer Coffey, a representative from the University of Louisville, said most of their students come from Kentucky and fairs are a big part of recruitment.

However, both Burgess and Coffey said that students also benefit from attending these fairs.

Burgess said events like this allow students to network with different programs, something she said is important to their success.

“It is a competitive field, so if you can make a connection now and get your name to those key people who are making the decisions, that’s a big benefit,” Burgess said.

Coffey said being able to speak with representatives from a program allows students to gain inside information about the technical aspects of the application process, as well as what they need to be doing as early as freshman year to prepare.

“When we talk about preparing for medical school, we approach it from that of preparing for a marathon as opposed to a sprint,” Coffey said. “You want to take each year, and be productive throughout undergrad in order to build a solid application.”

One of the ways students can build a solid application is by getting involved with the Pre-Health Professionals (PHP) Club on campus, said Christian Winters, the club’s president.

He said the club allows students to gain experiences that are beneficial to their future careers and provide students with information that is important to know when considering professional schools. He said for freshmen, the club also has the added benefit of getting to know upperclassmen who can guide them through their time on campus.

“Our goal is to not only educate students about professional school, but to prepare them for when the time comes to apply to those schools,” Winters said.

Burgess said though this is the only fair held by Purchase AHEC throughout the year, there will be health care booths set up at the Career Fair.

She said she works with pre-health students year round, conducting mock interviews and helping them prepare for whatever test they may need to take, as well as coordinating for students to go into the community and gain hands-on experience.