Health Career Expo attracts neighbors drawn to service
At Christiana Care Learning Institute’s Health Career Expo, students, parents and others interested in exploring a calling to serve their neighbors got an overview of the many professions that contribute to a vibrant health system.
They also had the opportunity to meet professionals working in those fields — and to ask all the questions they wished.
“We serve our neighbors not only as respectful partners in their health but also in their learning,” said Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, Ph.D., MBA, senior vice president, Christiana Care Learning Institute, and chief diversity officer.
More than 250 people responded to fliers and e-mails to schools and guidance counselors promoting the event, said Jennifer Czerwinski, senior education specialist. Dover High School sent two busloads of students to the Nov. 13 expo at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center.
Many of the students interested in health careers were accompanied by parents.
“That really sets this career expo apart from other career events,” Colon-Kolacko said. “We think it’s important to provide parents with an opportunity to learn more and ask questions about their children’s career paths and learn together.”
Susan Connell, the mother of 15-year-old Madison and Kelly Connell, is pleased that the twins are interested in a field that offers job security as well as the opportunity to help others. Both girls are in the nursing program at Hodgson Vocational-Technical School. Madison wants to become an anesthesiologist; Kelly aspires to be a pediatric oncologist.
“As a mother, I don’t push,” she said. “But I have guided them toward careers in health care. No matter where you go, people will always need doctors and nurses.”
The career expo provided the health system employees of tomorrow with insights into far-flung opportunities in the field, ranging from nuclear medicine to public safety to pastoral care.
“We have had lots of questions from students about career options in nutrition because it’s such a wide field, focused on people in the hospital and the community,” said Mary Shapero, RD, senior registered dietician at Christiana Care.
Jill Horner of Newark was familiar with the corporate world, working in an office for more than 20 years.
Then she took time off to care for her elderly parents and discovered the deep satisfaction that comes with helping others.
She went back to school, enrolling in the Certified Medical Assistant and Electronic Health Record programs at Delaware Technical and Community College, which partners with Christiana Care to educate students in eight allied health professions. She graduated in December 2013, at 48.
“It was such a meaningful experience caring for my family that I thought it might become my life’s work,” Horner said. “Now, I’m looking for a job or an internship, and this expo is a great place to start.”