High school students participating in Public Health Summer Immersion at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Why Public Health Summer Immersion? High school students share their thoughts.

August 21, 2017

  • The high school students participating in Public Health Summer Immersion at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) certainly have their priorities in place. Some are looking to strengthen their college applications or find the perfect subject for their college essay. Others are looking to make the most of their summer.

    But, all of the students have something in common: they’re passionate about how science and public health impact their own lives – and the lives of those around them.

    These students had the opportunity to put their passion into practice during the three-day immersion experience on the Boston, MA campus. Presented with a full three days of lectures, courses, and activities within public health, students were able to mix and match to build a schedule that fits their interests.

    A focus on social justice and accessibility

    Caroline, a rising junior at Winsor School in Boston, says she is drawn to issues related to social justice. “Public health definitely has ties to social justice, which I’m most passionate about,” said Caroline. “Maybe I’m not the best at science – it’s not my favorite thing – but the intersection with social justice was what I was most interested in.”

    Because of her interest in social justice, Caroline selected a seminar in the afternoon called “You be the Judge: Trumpcare vs. Obamacare,” led by Professor Marta Chadwick, JD, which covered the issue of healthcare availability and accessibility.

    “I’m looking to learn more about how to promote accessibility,” said Caroline. “I didn’t realize the extent to which it’s important to have accessibility, and the ways accessibility can be achieved.”

    Dia, a rising senior at Georgetown High School, agrees that accessibility is vital. As someone who has personally received care at Boston Children’s Hospital, she understands that access to world-class healthcare is currently a privilege. “I live in an affluent community, and I’m lucky to be born into the family I was,” said Dia. “I have aunts who are nurses and my dad is a doctor. Obviously, I get nervous sometimes, but I never had to truly worry about my health.”

    She is looking to pursue a Premedical and Health Studies degree as a way to fulfill her aspirations to help others. “I want to go to medical school and become a neonatologist,” said Dia.

    Getting to know the field

    Fatima recently graduated from the Wall Institute in Ontario, Canada and will start undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in the fall. She decided to apply to the Public Health Immersion Program because she was looking to expand her knowledge of the field.

    “Public health isn’t that well known in Canada,” said Fatima. “It’s all about the life sciences, bio, stuff like that. So I just wanted to like get a deeper understanding of this portion of sciences as well, and get a new idea of healthcare.”

    For many of the students, the combination of the humanities and hard sciences within public health was especially appealing. “I’m one of those people who likes the sciences, as well as the humanities, and public health has that connection that I’m looking for,” said Fatima.

    Looking ahead to college application season

    For many students, college application season is already top of mind, and participating in an academic immersion program represents an important way to strengthen applications. “I thought, hey, I like science, and I should do something productive this summer,” said Lydia, a rising senior at Georgetown High School. “And, it looks good on your college application and helps you boost your competitiveness.”

    Elsa, a rising senior from Dover-Sherborn High School, is looking to pursue a future in pharmacy. Right now, she’s focused on crafting the perfect college essay. “The prompt is, “What is one thing you would change about the world?”, said Elsa. “I’m writing about health in general. I already did a program on contagious disease, and I worked at a STEM camp, counseling younger kids, so this was a great addition.”

    Gaining a foundation to help others

    For many students, public health represents a bridge to their humanitarian goals. Haidar, a rising senior at City on a Hill, speaks passionately about his future plans to bring much-needed resources to those in need. “I come from Egypt and my dad’s family is from the Middle East, and there we have a big lack of resources, specifically health,” said Haidar. “I have always been interested in health and medicine and helping other people is one of my big things, so combining both of these ideas made me really interested in public health.”

    The Public Health Immersion program was the perfect opportunity to learn more about a field that was new to Haidar. “At first, I wasn’t sure what public health means,” said Haidar. “So now, I have a much better idea.”

    He plans to use that knowledge to further his aspirations to help others. “In the future, I definitely want to make my own organization and help others where I come from, and other countries, that have a lack of resources,” said Haidar.

    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers immersion programs designed to give high school students hands-on experiences in the health sciences. Interested in future immersion programs? Email us at admissions@mcphs.edu.