WRITER: MELANIE LAVERMAN
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 335-8034
Waterloo students visit UI to learn about health sciences
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Twenty-nine students from the Waterloo school district
are learning about the health sciences at the McElroy Summer Science Camp
on the University of Iowa campus June 15-28.
The project, a collaboration between the UI and the Waterloo school
district, is intended to address Iowa's need for more minority health care
practitioners by introducing young minority students to college life and
health science careers.
During the two-week camp, the ninth- and 10th-grade students are introduced
to health professions through a series of guest speakers and field trips.
They also learn how to promote their own health and the health of others.
A $15,000 grant from the McElroy Trust allows the UI to offer the camp.
According to Dr. Benny Hawkins, UI professor of dentistry and camp co-director,
the grant opens the door for students who could not afford to attend otherwise.
Although the camp is targeted at economically disadvantaged and minority
students, there are other requirements for admission. Of 65 applicants,
30 students who demonstrated an interest in science and were highly recommended
by their teachers were selected.
A committee of Waterloo educators and UI faculty and staff worked together
to develop the camp and select the participants. The UI members listened
carefully to the school district's ideas, Hawkins says.
"The project was under the direction of the school district,"
he says. "It was not the UI running it."
Waterloo-area committee members include the principals of all three
high schools, an administrator from the school district, a high school
counselor and a representative from the University of Northern Iowa Center
for Urban Education. UI committee members are Hawkins, UI Associate Vice
President for Health Professions Education and camp co-director Dr. Elizabeth
Swanson, and Opportunity at Iowa staff member and camp coordinator Lew
Hawkins said the camp is unique because it covers all the health sciences,
rather than focusing on just one area. During their two weeks at the UI,
the students will be exposed to careers in dentistry, pharmacy, nursing
and medicine. They will also learn about the physical therapy and physician
assistant programs, the UI Hygienic Laboratory, the Hardin Library for
the Health Sciences, magnetic resonance imaging and other medical imaging
facilities, and the UIHC emergency room and burn treatment center.
The first week of camp has gone very well, according to Montgomery.
"There has been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about the program,"
he says. "The university has been tremendously responsive to having
the kids on campus."