D211 Post: District 211 students explore the future of medicine

Dr. Stephen Grabowski MD (left) discusses the operations of the DaVinci Surgical System during a District 211 Career Trek.

            To help students better prepare for their futures beyond high school, career counselors arrange career treks where they can experience aspects of potential future careers.  Recently, about 50 students from across the District had the opportunity to explore the future of the medical field during a trek to AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates.

            During the nearly two-hour visit, students heard a brief history of surgical practices from Dr. Susan Scanlon, MD, MCMP of Midwest Center for Women’s Healthcare, followed by a demonstration of the DaVinci Surgical System by Dr. Stephen Grabowski, MD, Director of Robotics at St. Alexius Hospital.  After the demonstration, students were given the opportunity to try a variety of simulators, as well as learn how to suture and tie one-handed knots.

            “The goal of today is to inspire the students to choose a career in the field of medicine or technology,” said Dr. Scanlon.  “It’s a hands-on experience, so I think it is a lot more enlightening about what the work is than by just reading about it in a text book.”

            Schaumburg High School junior Madhav Bhatt said the chance to test the equipment helps him form his decision for career paths after high school.

Students from across District 211 had the opportunity to try out operating the DaVinci Surgical System during a Career Trek to St. Alexius Hospital.

            “I think this is a great opportunity to learn a lot more about the medical career field,” Bhatt said.  “Since next year is going to be a lot of college applications, I think it’s important to learn more about the field, and if it’s something I want to get into.”

            Getting an early look at medical technology is something that attracted William Fremd High School senior Cameryn Peknik about the field trip.

            “I think it’s really interesting to see how technology has evolved and expanded in the medical field, which is a necessity,” she said.  “It’s amazing that we have the opportunity to start learning it at a younger age, as opposed to waiting until medical school.  I’m excited to learn how to use this more in the future.”

William Fremd High School senior Cameryn Peknik (left) discusses career potential with Dr. Susan Scanlon MD during a District 211 Career Trek to St. Alexius Hospital.

            Dr. Grabowski said that learning about the medical robots is not necessarily just to inspire future medical students.

            “Most of the students that come here are in some sort of STEM program or some sort of science-based program with interest in medicine,” he said.  “I’ve had students come to these sessions who ultimately went into the engineering aspect.  They were intrigued with the robotics aspect of what we do.  They become the people behind the technology that I use.”

            For Tarun Velamoor, a sophomore at William Fremd High School, the field trip was more than just meeting with doctors and technology that inspired him to continue working to a future in medicine, it included a unique reunion.

            “Dr. Scanlon was the doctor who helped deliver me in 2004,” he said.  “It’s very interesting to see someone who helped give life to you.”

Recent Career Internship Fair Connects District 211 Students to Local Companies

Township High School District 211 recently hosted an internship fair for students to meet with representatives from local companies searching for high school interns.

The Career Trek Internship Fair took place at Schaumburg High School on April 12. Approximately 37 companies interested in hiring high school interns attended and many hoped to hire students that day. Students were encouraged to bring resumes and dress professionally to impress company representatives.

“This event was an awesome learning opportunity for our students, both personally and professionally,” said Jan Brottman, career advisor at Fremd High School. “Some of the students walked away with positions for the summer, and the experience of talking to potential hiring professionals was beneficial as they move forward in figuring out their future paths.”

The majority of companies were in the manufacturing field. However, companies in health care, technology, social work, computer programming, asset protection, clothing production, information technology, and more were also in attendance.

Rosa Botello, a representative from Motorola, said she was impressed with not only students’ academic performances, but also how professionally each student presented themselves. She said some students started out shy but quickly lit up as they started to discuss their career aspirations.

“The students were great, extremely prepared to talk to me and their resumes were awesome,” Botello said. “I walked away with 40 resumes from awesome, diverse students.”

Brottman said the internship fair was a great opportunity for students to practice interview skills. She said students that attend events like the internship fair are a step ahead of their peers because of the experience they gain.

Many students in attendance said they were grateful for the opportunity even if they were not interested in a manufacturing internship. Sean Kim, a junior at Fremd High School, said he was able to talk to a couple of large companies that specialize in computer science and hopes to see the program expand.

“When I was looking for internships online within computer science, most of the internships I found were for college students,” Sean said. “This fair really helped me find potential places to intern. I even talked to people from manufacturing companies that offered me a lot of advice about college and the field. It was really cool.”

Emme Gerstenkorn, a senior exchange student at Fremd High School, said while she cannot apply to internships because she is moving back to Germany at the end of the year, the experience was beneficial to students. It provided her with the opportunity to network and possibly get an internship overseas.

“I met with Motorola and they told me about an internship that I cannot take part in because I am moving back to Germany,” Emma said. “She told me they could expand it to Germany so I could apply for the internship when I go back there.”

Brottman said as the event grows in the future, the District plans to expand the number of career pathways represented at the fair. For more information or questions, please contact Jan Brottman at jbrottman@d211.org.