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Augustana College Neuroscience Experience

In this two-day workshop students will be introduced to the organization and function of the brain, our most amazing organ! By the end of the workshop, participants will have a clearer understanding of the field of neuroscience and its practices.

"If you don’t understand something, you need to ask questions."

– Michelle G, Junior, Augustana College

At just 17, Michelle knows she wants to be a vet. She’s thinking about how to make it happen. Last summer, as a rising junior in NCCHS’ Health Care Career Pathway, Michelle participated in a four-day program at Augustana College. “This opportunity caught my attention: it was a way to get the full experience so when I graduate, when I choose a college, I know what to do.”

Being in the Amazing Brain class all day was challenging, but interactive. “We did an experiment with a cockroach leg, using a machine that connected the leg to a speaker, and played music. The sound waves went through the cockroach leg, and it moved by itself. We used that equipment to connect us too: when I’d move my hand, my partner’s hand would move. It was crazy!”

The time Michelle spent in a cadaver lab was a new experience, but not the only one. “I thought somebody was going to be with you, but you’re independent. There were fun things to do in the evenings: bowling, movies, the arcade.” Michelle noticed how students were expected to take initiative. “We got to ask a lot of questions. You’re kind of on your own, and it’s not like school here where the teachers wait for you if you don’t understand something. If you don’t understand something, you need to ask the questions.”

"I felt like a grown man because we were so independent."

– Ricky I, Junior, Augustana College

Ricky, who attended “The Amazing Brain” program at Augustana College as a rising junior, was amazed by the professors and the classes. It was school like he’d never seen it before. “They’re trying to teach you like a real college student. We did a lot of learning through listening, and the professor gave us time to talk in our groups. He was open-minded about everything. If we had a question, he would stop the class and answer our question. That was pretty impressive.”

It went beyond the classroom too. Everything about the place was a change in the way he was used to doing things. “You had to be in class on time and make sure you had everything. We didn’t use our phone to get places on time: we just used our brains.”

Life on a college campus had an impact on Ricky. “It’s a good learning experience. It teaches you how to be independent and to be a bigger person. I learned a lot, and I was open-minded about everything. I felt like a grown man there because we were so independent.”

"They had high expectations for us."

– Kelly F, Junior, Augustana College

Experiments with cockroach legs. Cafeteria food that was actually good. And more independence than she’d ever had before. These were a few of the surprises awaiting Kelly, one of seven NCCHS students on a four-day stay at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL last summer.

“I was scared to meet new people. Everyone was.” Kelly felt like anyone would feel in that situation: new place, new people, far from home. “But once we were there, it wasn’t so scary. We just felt independent.” Kelly grew more confident because the college made her feel that way. “School there isn’t like school here. Here everyone’s telling you to go to class, do this, do that. At Augustana, they had high expectations for us.”

Going away posed challenges for Kelly, who has two jobs and takes care of her sisters when her mom is working. “But my mom told me, ‘When I was your age, I didn’t have the opportunities you have, so I want you to fulfill what you want to do, and I want you to be able to have those opportunities, and I’m not just going to let you throw them away!’”

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Zion, IL

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, students get the opportunity to experience what it's like to work in a hospital. Whether it's shadowing a nurse, observing a procedure, or directly supporting patients and families dealing with cancer, you will see and live first-hand some of the many ways you can turn your interest in health sciences into a career in medicine.

"I know this will rate on my college applications."

– Luis Jonathan V, Senior, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Zion, IL

Lesson: How to make the most of high school summers “I’m interested in pursuing a career as a nurse. I chose this internship to get an idea of what it’s like working in a hospital setting. The experience was great. The staff members were just good people.”

“I also know this will rate on my college applications. I’m interested in attending Carthage College in Kenosha or Northern Illinois University.”

Advice: “If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, take the opportunity to volunteer at CTCA. It will give you an idea of what it’s like to work in a hospital setting.”

"Everyone here treats you in a good way. That kind of environment is nice!"

– Nathalie M, Senior, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Zion, IL

“I’m more into the beauty end of medicine. I want to go into skin care, as a dermatologist or as a cosmetic or plastic surgeon. I want to go away for college, and I’m interested in Texas, Colorado, Florida, or California.”

“When you go to some hospitals, everyone’s really grumpy and rude. They don’t feel like talking to you, and so they don’t. But at CTCA, everyone’s so happy. That kind of environment is nice! Everyone here treats you in a good way.”

Lesson: What blood and and tissue samples look like “At the hospital labs, we picked up blood and DNA samples, filed them, and packaged them to be sent out to other hospitals or labs. They’re really hard to describe: each one has a different look. It’s like paint or food coloring splattered on and smushed between two pieces of glass.”

Lesson: What to do when you don’t know what to say “Sometimes I didn’t really know what to say to patients, honestly. I had to pick up a lady from rehab, and she told me her situation. I just felt like crying. I didn’t know what to tell her or if she was going to make it. It’s really heartbreaking. I told her to stay positive.”

"I think I’ve grown."

– Abigail M, Senior, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Zion, IL

“I was born in Belize, the youngest of nine kids. I want to be a veterinarian. Sometimes my career choice switches. But I definitely want to be in the medical field, so I’m covering all my bases, not limiting myself. I think it’s helping me grow. I’m interested in the University of Georgia, or Cornell University in New York, or UC Davis in California.”

Lesson: Going outside your comfort zone “I’ve been in North Chicago my whole life, so I’m not really used to anything else. I think getting away would help me be a better vet, so I’ll have more knowledge than just what I can get here. My parents think that’s good for me, but they’re nervous, because it’s going to be new and kind of scary. But I think it will pay off in the end.”

Lesson: How to listen to stories of personal pain “In the six-week internship, I learned how to adapt to hearing people’s stories. It made me better at understanding people. Sometimes it was hard talking to patients. You don’t really know what to say. You have to comfort them in a way that they know that you’re comforting them. You also have to be careful about what you say: not too much or too little.”

Advice: “An opportunity like this is a big one, so appreciate it. Be humble working there, because we sometimes take our blessings and what we’re given for granted. I think I’ve grown. The more I worked there, the humbler I got. When you come to a place like CTCA, you realize, ‘Wow, the things that I was complaining about, they were nothing!’”

"I saw being bilingual will be a benefit in the medical field."

– Edwin G, Senior, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Zion, IL

“I’m interested in being a nurse. Sometimes my interests change to the forensic sciences. I have two colleges in mind: Carthage College in Kenosha or Robert Morris University in Chicago.”

Lesson: What pushing a wheelchair can teach you “Escorting patients was challenging. I got that nervous feeling trying to fit them in an elevator and not crash into something or somebody else. Escorting patients helped me think if I really want to be a nurse or not, and what it’s going to feel like being around patients every day.”

Lesson: The importance of being bilingual “Normally I just speak English. I speak Spanish when I have to. But I definitely saw that being bilingual—speaking Spanish—will be a benefit in the medical field. There were patients that came in and didn’t know any English, so we were helpful, since we could talk with them, and translate if needed.”

Advice: “Even if you’re not sure that you want to be a nurse, or you think you want to be something completely opposite, but you don’t have anything to do during the summer, then why not? Get the experience!”

Milwaukee School of Engineering - School of Nursing

MSOE nursing students learn how to combine compassionate care with life-saving technology. With hands-on laboratories, a host of high-tech manikins that simulate medical scenarios, and expert faculty, we make sure that your training fully prepares you for the rigors of a nursing career.

"Sometimes students just need a little push."

– Berenice G, Junior, Milwaukee School Of Engineering

Berenice’s summer experience at the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s program “Focus on Nursing” cemented her interest in health care. She was one of 18 high schoolers–one of four from North Chicago–to get this unique taste of college and career, not to mention a week away from home. “My parents say, ‘If you go away to college, it’s going to be hard for us, but we will support you.’ They’re fully supportive of my decisions.” Berenice’s older sister didn’t go to college, but is thinking about it now, watching her younger sister.

Berenice’s niece was born premature, so she felt lucky that a neonatal nurse came to talk to her group at MSOE. Berenice asked the nurse about her big concern: the emotional toll of this kind of nursing. “He told me that you lose patients sometimes, and it hurts, but it pushes you more so the next patient you have, you do a little more.”

Encouragement from her high school teachers helped to make this a great experience. “My biggest support system here is Mr. Hollenstein and Ms. Miller. I think sometimes students just need a little bit more push, a little bit more support. If you know something’s wrong with a student, don’t just stay quiet. Sometimes just asking is enough.”

"I feel like going there really helped me."

– Lamiaya B, Junior, Milwaukee School Of Engineering

Last summer, Lamiaya and three classmates headed 90 miles north. The Milwaukee School of Engineering offered “Focus on Nursing”–a week-long immersion in the field for high schoolers and a chance to spend time on a real college campus. Students’ costs were covered, transportation provided, and students prepared and supported each step of the way.

Lamiaya learned about different types of nurses—military, flight, travel (not just school nurses)—and the opportunity to change their type of nursing mid-career. Pediatric nursing is her focus now, especially after their visit to the Children’s Hospital. “At first, it was really hard because I don’t like blood or crying. But then, when we started practicing shots, it didn’t phase me. I was really surprised with myself. I feel like going there really helped me.” Students practiced on manikins with blood pressure, heart rate, pulse, and real hair. These weren’t your average department store models, but $100,000 each, housed in state-of-the-art campus buildings.

With parents who didn’t go to college, this is a new path for Lamiaya’s family and she’s on it with full support. “My mom said I should do whatever makes me happy. I just have to work hard. She told me, ‘Even if nursing isn’t for you, you’ve got everything that you need in college. You can try something else.’”

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