EMCC hosts inaugural health fair, service learning event

High school students milled about the East Mississippi Community College Communiversity campus Thursday morning learning all about different areas of expertise in health care and the education provided for those roles right down the road from their homes.

Many secondary students around the Golden Triangle intend to enter a career in health care since there is an increased need for those professionals around the globe. Area colleges are looking to help these students by showing them what classes are offered to help them reach those goals.

The EMCC Communiversity hosted to a health fair on Thursday from 1 pm to 4 pm, but before the general public was invited in, high school students enjoyed a private educational session.

Associate degree nursing instructor Dr. Brittany Shurden was one of the organizers of EMCC’s inaugural service learning event paired with the health fair, and she said the students’ learning experience differed from the one open to the public.

“For the kids, we have booths from EMCC out to let them know of their local options for a higher education in a health-related field,” said Shurden. “We also have health care agencies here that are teaching the students about seatbelt safety, pregnancy and (sexually transmitted diseases), how to put a car seat in properly, stuff that affects younger people. The general public will get stuff more on the lines of bone density, (body mass index), blood pressure and heart health.”

Groups from Lowndes County School District, West Point, Millsaps Career and Technology Center in the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, and Louisville all came out to learn from industry professionals and current EMCC students.

Students at EMCC talked to the high school students about their classes and experiences within their degree programs. Holland Hickman, a junior from Caledonia who is taking classes at the LCSD’s Career and Technical Center, said one of the best parts about the field trip was hearing from the current students at EMCC.

“I want to be a travel nurse and my mom wants me to go to school in this area,” Hickman said. “Hearing from the students at EMCC definitely makes this more real and it just solidified what I wanted to do. It’s one thing to hear from people already in the industry, but it’s different hearing from the students looking to make their way into it.”

Another student, Chip Atchley from New Hope, has big plans to work in radiology. In order to be prepared, Atchley is working towards getting his prerequisite classes finished.

“I want to go into (Itawamba Community College)’s radiology program,” Atchley said. “Seeing everything here at EMCC really solidified what I want to do, and it makes me excited to take some of my basic classes for college here during my senior year.”

Because this was the inaugural event, Shurden looks forward to the future and the impact a health fair for the community can make.

“This is great for students to see their options for college, but it’s also great for the community to know how to take care of themselves,” said Shurden.

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