Health care camp empowers local students to explore their passio - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health care camp empowers local students to explore their passions

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Some Eastern Iowa students are finding their passion in the health care field through an annual summer camp.

For six weeks every summer, Allen College holds a free nursing and health care camp for high school students in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area.  Students spend their mornings working on their math and science skills, and every week, they take a special visit to Allen Hospital in Waterloo. 

Dr. Doreen Mingo is the Coordinator of the Office of Diversity Services for Allen College. Mingo says this camp is a chance for students to learn more about the many different positions in the medical field.

"We know that by experiencing it and by doing some of the activities that these real-life professionals do, these students are more likely to choose health care careers post high-school graduation," Mingo said. 

These students may not realize that some of these careers existed if it weren't for this camp. 

"You cannot hope to go into a profession if you don't know anything about it," Mingo said.  

Campers can explore different units inside the hospital and see what it's really like to work there.

Adric Brown is a student at the camp. He will attend Grand Canyon University in the fall to study biology (pre-med). He said he dreams of becoming a pediatric oncologist, or a doctor who diagnoses and treats children with cancer. 

"Experiences like this show me more of what health care is like and being able to see it not just from a patient's perspective," Adric Brown said.  

With a shortage of nursing positions nationwide, Mingo says camps like these are important.  

"We're trying to build a body of students who are interested in healthcare careers who will help fill some of that void," Mingo said.  

By giving students this hands-on experience with doctors and nurses, the goal is to empower them to dream big. 

"It shows them things they've never seen before, and it shows them that there are people just like them who had a dream and worked that dream into fruition, and if that person can do it, they can, too," Mingo said. 

Once the camp finishes, Allen College holds a graduation ceremony for the students. Dr. Mingo said in the past six years, more than 200 students have graduated from the program. She said many have gone on to pursue careers in the health care industry. This year's graduation is on July 20. 

Enrollment for next year's camp opens in February. 

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