Two dozen undergraduates from throughout New York State spent this week at Upstate in the “Try on a White Coat” program for college students interested in health care professions.
The program is in its second year, and is hosted by Upstate’s CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program). CSTEP is a New York State Department of Education initiative that helps underrepresented or economically disadvantaged students prepare for careers in the scientific, technical and health-related fields.
The visiting students have been immersed in presentations, hands-on demonstrations and activities, panel discussions and social outings.
Thursday afternoon, the students gathered for one of their scheduled reflections to talk about their experience on campus and the impact it may have on their academic paths.
Ayenoumou Barry, a rising sophomore at the University at Buffalo, said she enjoyed being exposed to a variety of health care fields like medical imaging and physical therapy. “But this has reinforced my interest in pediatrics,” she said. “Every time a doctor mentioned pediatrics, my eyes opened and my ears perked up. It made me want to know more.”
Kyle Peterson, a rising sophomore at the Sage Colleges in Albany, expressed his gratitude to CSTEP for the “Try on a White Coat” program, and said this group has formed a lasting bond.
“I’ve really enjoyed making connections,” said Kyle, who wants to become a Physician Assistant. “We may be apart for years, but somewhere down the road we’ll be together and our relationship will still stand.”
That comment drew applause from the entire group.
Other reflections from the students about their experiences during the week:
“We’re all sharing our views. It makes me feel happy. This is what I want to do.”
“It reinforced the idea that we can do it.”
“When Dr. (Lawrence) Chin told us we’re going to be in charge of other people’s lives, the responsibility of that … I was frozen. But it makes me want to pursue this.”
“I liked the medical student panel. Hearing how much they’ve gone through encouraged me. It gave me peace of mind. I’ll be OK.”
“We have the power to change the way we see a community, that we can help our society.”
“This increased my confidence. We can make it, even though we have all these roadblocks.”
“The diversity discussion opened me up to everyone’s struggle. It’s important to have hope and to believe in those goals. And I’ll be there to help anyone who needs that hope.”