Local high school students are taking a break from traditional academics. They are immersing themselves in college medical classes at Marian University.

Students are learning how to splint broken bones, perform medical procedures in a simulation lab and participate in medical research. They are learning along with Marian medical and nursing students and faculty.

“This is our third annual healthcare camp. It’s a full week of hands-on activities. They’re here with medical, nursing, biomedical and undergraduate pre-health students who lead them as camp mentors,” said Elena Bolin, director of health profession pathway programs at Marian University.

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Bolin said the program continuously grows every year. In 2021, the program’s first year, they had 25 campers. In 2022, that number grew to 50 campers.

This year, they have more than 75 campers.

“This is a lot more than we anticipated. We’re thrilled to have these campers here from area schools and beyond. We actually have a camper from Kentucky here with us. They stay on campus for the whole week in Drew Hall (dormitories),” said Bolin.

Marian University’s healthcare camp

Bolin, along with Marian University admissions employees, went to career fairs throughout the school year. They offered program admissions to students who showed an interest in the healthcare industry.

The University also offered field trips to their simulation center for schools as another means to pique students’ interest.

Local high school students get hands on experience at Marian University’s Healthcare Camp
15-year-old Jaden Parker wanted to come to the camp to experience new job careers in medicine and health. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

Jaden Parker a freshman going into his sophomore year at Herron High School. He wanted to attend the camp to explore career paths within medicine and health.

The 15-year-old said that when most people hear about medical opportunities they think of a doctor. Medicine can encompass different paths.

“Physical therapy is very interesting to me. I’m a practical person, so I like being hands on. I also want to be an orthodontist. I feel like this camp can help support me (in doing) that,” said Parker.

“This camp is very educational. It teaches younger people a lot of things that most people who go to Marian now for medicine didn’t get to have when they were younger,” said Parker. “It better prepares us for what’s to come.”

Marian University’s healthcare camp

Sariyah Butler is a 16-year-old junior going into her senior year at Crispus Attucks High School. She wants to be a pediatric nurse or an ultrasound technician when she graduates.
Butler learned about ultrasound technicians from watching videos she found on her “For You Page” on TikTok.

The camp solidified her interest in this pathway since this is another career opportunity available to learn about.

Local high school students get hands on experience at Marian University’s Healthcare Camp
Elena Bolin, the director of health profession pathway programs at Marian University. (Photo/Jade Jackson)

“I’ve learned how the lungs work and how the body as a whole works. I did learn that we have five valves in the heart. I always thought it was four, and I learned how to listen to them. So far, I’ve learned how to take ear tests and take someone’s blood pressure,” said Butler.

The high schooler received her CNA license in March through the pathway her school offers. She encourages anybody who is interested in the medical field to take advantage of the opportunity Marian University offers.

Bolin said the University only recently decided to start allowing high school students to tour and participate in the camp.

“We’re excited about it because it also gives our nursing and medical students leadership opportunities. They are a part of the tours and help give some of the skills demonstrations,” said Bolin.

The healthcare camp is sponsored by the Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON