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High School Students Conducting EKGs at UL Lafayette

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When high school students think of the summer, thoughts of blood types and EKGs aren’t usually at the top of their minds.

A group of 16 high school students, however, were concentrating on both Monday afternoon at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The students are participating in the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center’s summer MASH - Medical Applications of Sciences for Health - camp. The two-week program offers high school students interested in the medical field a chance to study biology and medical technology on the college level.

“ This is a great opportunity for these students to really get a look at the medical field,” said Dr. Bruce Felgenhauer, associate professor of Biology and director of the pre-professional program in Biology. He is serving as director of the MASH camp this summer. “They are learning about the systems of the body and doing lab work that is related to each of these systems.”

Upon completion of the course including satisfactory class participation, presentations and an exam, each student will earn three free elective college non-transferable credits from UL Lafayette.

“ The purpose of this program is to entice young people into the medical field,” said Margaret Durand, director of career recruitment and professional education for SWLAHEC. “They will see severe shortages in the medical field when they graduate. So, this program gives them a head start in those fields. They need a future and the medical field needs them.”

During their first week, students toured UL Lafayette’s Electron Microscopy Center and Dupré Library. In addition, local doctors discussed their specialties with the group.

“ This is a new experience for me. I am learning a lot especially from the visual presentations,” said William Moody, who attends Lafayette High School. He plans to become a physician - either a research doctor or a surgeon.

Elizabeth DeSpain, who attends Rayne High School, plans to become a veterinarian. She noted the hardest part of the program was keeping up with lectures and studying. The best part was conducting experiments in the lab.

“ This is a very beneficial program for students who are interested in a medical career,” she said after having an EKG.

The residential program also offers a taste of college life. Students are housed in the dorms and conduct research in the library. In addition to learning about biology, students are touring UL Lafayette and getting information on scholarship programs and admission processes.

“ This is really a great group of students who are interested in learning,” said Felgenhauer.

SWLAHEC hopes to continue the program at UL Lafayette next year.

This summer’s group includes: Brennan Abshire of Crowley, Tonealya Archangel of Loreauville, Jesse Bergeron of Loreauville, Ashley Bonnette of New Iberia, Denver Brown of Lake Arthur, Elizabeth DeSpain of Duson, Lacey George of St. Martinville, Karly Guidry of Breaux Bridge, Denae Hebert of Branch, Victoria Kokenge of Lafayette, Geoffrey Lafargue of Welsh, Caitlin Lavergne of Denham Springs, Hali Matte of Crowley, William Moody of Lafayette, Seth Rodrigue of Erath and Nancy Rueda of New Iberia.