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College of Medicine's career fair looks to reach high school students

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Sam Gross | The Daily Wildcat

The UA College of Medicine on Thursday, Dec. 3. The Mobile Medical Unit, run by the college, travels to Southern Arizona offering medical services to areas that are deemed "medically underserved."

The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson South Campus has invited high school students to attend “A Pathway to Success," a healthcare career fair, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Students interested in a career in a medical or health-related field can learn from resident physicians in the College of Medicine about a future in these fields at the event in Banner University Medical Center South. 

“A Pathway to Success” is now in its third year, offering the opportunity for students to gain insight into careers such as physician, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist and more. The students will take part in activities like hands-only CPR training; electrocardiogram, or heart-monitor, training and practice in medical mannequin intubation training. 

A tour of the emergency and pharmacy departments within the hospital will also be provided.

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Dr. Roberto Swazo is an associate clinical instructor of medicine at UA and one of the organizers of the career fair. He says that numbers are expected to be up from an already amazing turnout last year.

“Historically, the event has been limited to 100 people,” Dr. Swazo said. “This year was the first time we have had 100 RSVPs a few weeks before the event between both parents and students.”

A scholarship of $500 will also be offered to a high school junior or senior in Pima County who is planning to pursue a career in a health-related field. The scholarship, sponsored by the Medical Executive Committee at Banner University Medical South, can be applied for on the College of Medicine website with a 500- to 700-word essay describing the medical career they intend to pursue and three steps they will take toward it. 

Although the event is not open to the public, there will be UA counselors and recruiters on hand to provide information about applications, tuition and scholarships for those who would like to know more about the potential opportunities. 

In an area with limited resources, Dr. Swazo said he thinks the event provides great opportunities for the community.

“Getting an event like this started boils down to the lack of resources in the South Tucson area,” Dr. Swazo said. “Students don’t have many opportunities to see the healthcare profession and be taken behind the scenes.”

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Dr. Swazo also spoke on how much an event like this could possibly shape a child’s life for the future. Dr. Swazo received his MD from the Ross University School of Medicine in 2015, but was not afforded an opportunity like this growing up. 

“I heard about things like this growing up, but never got an opportunity to participate,” Dr. Swazo said. “Had I known more on the intricacies behind the medical field, it would have definitely helped. Hopefully this will give a behind the scenes peak into our field, and show the variety of opportunities available, and can impact them growing up.”

Students can RSVP for the event here, which includes a light dinner, a booth for parents on financing and the process of applying for college, and door prizes from the UA and local businesses around Tucson.


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