One Step Ahead
Getting Hands-on While in High School
UNMC College of Public Health (University of Nebraska Medical Center) conducts health sciences research, patient care and education. According to UNMC’s website, the center’s primary care program is ranked eighth out of 185 medical schools and provides hands-on learning opportunities for high school students interested in the medical field. These students get the chance to work side by side with professionals on a state of the art medical campus. To help provide opportunities to younger generations, UNMC started the UNMC High School Alliance (UNMC HSA) in 2010, which allows Metro area high school students to enroll and study at their centers.
“The exposure to the medical field and health sciences while still in high school is a huge advantage over other students nationally,” junior Taylor Daffer said. UNMC HSA is a very special program that allows me to get a feel for my higher education in medicine. Another advantage outside of education is the expectation of professionalism. We are expected to conduct ourselves as adults, being we are on a very prestigious medical research campus every day. I don’t think there is a better opportunity for me and my future career.”
Only so much can be taught in a high school setting. Over time, students will expand their knowledge and eventually want to push themselves past the high school curriculum. To help them do so, UNMC provides access to more resources and higher course levels.
“My experience at UNMC has been very beneficial,” Daffer said. “I have had exposure to health science careers I would not get in a traditional high school environment. I also have learned how to study and been challenged to time manage, prioritize and be more diligent with my school work. This semester I am studying community health and pathology. Pathology is a lot of content and moves very quickly, but is taught by Dr. (Geoffrey) Talmon, who is a Gretna alumni. The connection between where he is in his career and where I want to be, both coming from Gretna is really cool.”
Students who attend both UNMC and are completing general education requirements at their high schools, attend the first four hours each day then leave and finish their day at UNMC. This opportunity can be both challenging and rewarding, students get to learn in a higher up environment and study under professionals in their field of interest. Unlike dual credit classes, the UNMC HSA is closer to the college experience and demands more of its students. The workload is more than regular high school courses and student studies are more independent.
“I would recommend the UNMC HSA to anyone,” Daffer said. “You do give up a lot of your home high school experience. It’s a lot of driving and mostly studying, but so worth it. I’ve met so many people and have had opportunities to learn under doctors. The best part about UNMC is knowing that I am being challenged academically, but enjoying it. I have struggled with liking school or feeling passionate about subjects all throughout my education. UNMC has demanded more work than I’ve ever had to put into my grades, I find that part fun.”
Overall the UNMC HSA is a great opportunity for students interested in the medical field and would like hands-on experience while in high school. Students who would like to get one foot in the door while still in high school can apply to join the UNMC HSA. Although more difficult than traditional high school courses, the UNMC HSA is here to help students get a feel for college before they graduate.