Katrina Porter, assistant teaching professor of biology, introduces the Syndaver, a simulated human cadaver used for study.

Katrina Porter, assistant teaching professor of biology, introduces the Syndaver, a simulated human cadaver used for study.  

Image: Penn State Fayette

Penn State Fayette hosts Health Science Days

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette Admissions introduced a new event on Oct. 4 and Nov. 1 for college-bound students to explore academic programs and potential careers in the field of health sciences.

Health Science Days at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus featured informational sessions on the campus' nursing and physical therapist assistant programs, as well as offerings in pre-medicine and a 2+2 biology program. The Penn State 2+2 Plan allows students to take the first two years of their degree at Fayette before completing their degree at a second Penn State campus.

“Getting an up-close, hands-on experience with dissected specimens and state-of-art learning tools can make a huge impact on high school students as they are exploring potential career options."
-Katrina Porter, assistant teaching professor of biology. 

Participating in Health Science Days were over 400 high school students and chaperones from thirteen school districts, including Mount Pleasant, Meyersdale, Carmichaels, Turkeyfoot, Connellsville, Brownsville, Waynesburg Central, Southmoreland, Charleroi, Laurel Highlands, Westmoreland CTC, and Connellsville CTC. Additionally, Penn State’s Community Relations Center sponsored a trip to bring students from Pittsburgh’s City Charter High School to Fayette for the event.

Participants took an interactive tour of the Biomedical Building and the new, state-of-the-art Simulation Lab, featuring simulated human cadavers in a staged hospital setting.

“Getting an up-close, hands-on experience with dissected specimens and state-of-art learning tools can make a huge impact on high school students as they are exploring potential career options,” said Katrina Porter, assistant teaching professor of biology. 

“The students we met showed immense interest and excitement while working in our labs and discussing health professions and how to pursue their goals," Porter said. "I hope we are broadening their views on possible avenues to study as well as helping them realize that they can pursue these goals right here, close to home.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations is expected to grow by fourteen percent from 2018 to 2028 and create approximately 1.9 million new jobs.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity for our students, especially those interested in the health sciences, to get into the labs and work with the simulated cadaver,” said Beth Angle, a counselor at Connellsville Area High School. “For some, I know it solidified their plans to attend Penn State and other institutions for the health sciences.”

Erica Vasquez, a transition manager for City Charter High School in Pittsburgh, brought a group of juniors and seniors interested in nursing. “This event is an excellent opportunity for hands-on experience in these fields,” she said. “Students were able to apply what they’re studying in the real world by interacting with university-level professors and facilities. It was exciting.”

Shay Bosas and Alexia Smalich, seniors at Mount Pleasant Area Senior High School, are both considering careers in the health sciences. “After this event, I’m leaning toward attending Penn State Fayette for nursing,” Bosas said

“All of the classrooms and technology are updated and modern and really cool,” said Smalich. “I want to do the 2+2 Plan at Penn State Fayette for anesthesiology.”