The medical students at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest opened their doors on Oct. 29 to local sixth-graders in the first of a series of Saturday academies.
The sessions are part of the Lebanon Health Career Ladder.
COMP-Northwest student Amelia Servin, of Estacada, said the Lebanon Health Career Ladder is modeled after the program at the Pomona, Calif., campus where she completed her master’s degree.
“When I moved back here, I wanted to make sure that the service opportunity was still available,” Servin said.
Elizabeth Rega, assistant vice provost for academic development, said the sessions are mostly focused on career diversity.
They want to give insight into career paths attainable through Linn-Benton Community College and Oregon State University, as well as through COMP-Northwest.
Medical students volunteer their time to develop curriculum and conduct the sessions for children in middle school.
With days filled with lectures, studying and tests, the students have to carve out time to work on the career ladder projects.
“Organization is key. So are multi-tasking and prioritization,” Servin said.
She said sometimes that means using the 10 minute breaks between classes to send a quick email to others working on the career ladder.
They also are careful to schedule the Saturday academies after tests, Servin said.
COMP-Northwest student Megan Sturdy is in charge of curriculum for the career ladder.
The college also offered an experience for the families of the middle school students who attended.
Younger siblings of the middle-schoolers were able participate in a youth curriculum.
During the same time, parents sat in on their own session, learning about how to pay for college.
Middle school students went from classroom to classroom in groups of four or five.
Kids were able to explore a range of medical-related topics.
They looked at X-rays and examined bacteria through a microscope.
“The sessions are not meant to be not a lot of work for the (medical) students,” Servin said. “It’s more about interaction with the sixth graders.”
Sturdy, who was injured in a car accident several years ago, said her favorite part of the first session is the ambulance.
“Being in the ambulance this way was much cooler,” she said.
Russ Duerr and Desiree Barringer, of the Lebanon Fire District, were on hand to show kids the ins and outs of what they do in the ambulance.
Barringer said she was glad to come and help out at the medical school.
“It’s pretty cool. We went through the building when it was first being built,” Barringer said.
For now, the program is only open to Lebanon middle school students.
“The idea is to grow the program to include surrounding areas,” Sturdy said.
The next Saturday academy is scheduled for Dec. 3.
For more information about the program, go to www.westernu.edu/ladder-lebanon/apply.php.