RUTLAND - CollegeQuest To Health Careers, a program of the
Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center and the Vermont
AHEC Network, is a six-week college-enrichment program with a
focus on health care careers. The program, in its second year, is
for students entering their senior year of high school, who are
from families of modest income or first-in-family college
The program gives students a taste of dorm life while they work
on four different curriculum tracks including: health careers
exploration, human biology, and an introduction to college
studies. Health career themes covered during the program
include lab sciences, geriatrics, pharmacy, emergency
medicine, culturally responsive health care, dental care and mental
health. There are five assistant directors from New England
colleges that stay with the students in the dorms.
AHEC Executive Director Nicole LaPointe said the mission of CSJ
and that of CollegeQuest are perfectly aligned.
"Both the Provider Scholarship and CollegeQuest aim to make
degree attainment more likely for disadvantaged students," LaPointe
CollegeQuest student Tegan Waite said one of her science
teachers suggested she attend CollegeQuest to help her get a head
start on her college education.
"We're going to be really prepared to go to college," Waite
This year's iteration of CollegeQuest has been tweaked to make
it more academically rigorous, based on feedback from last year's
group. Changes include an additional course and an increase in the
amount of time students spend at Rutland Regional Medical Center.
At the hospital, students tour and learn about the laboratories,
and have opportunities to meet professional staff. They will also
spend time in the physical therapy, occupational therapy,
respiratory therapy, and speech and language therapy
LaPointe said this is a strong group attending this year's
"We have a great bunch of students. High achieving, motivated,"
LaPointe said. "The students came in with a tremendous vocabulary
of health care. They are now beginning to make connections between
the sessions and courses, and relating the material to a larger
The program offers more than education on health care. It also
serves as a trial run for the college experience. The program opens
with talks about the differences between life in high school and
life in college. LaPointe said they have seen a little anxiety and
home sickness, but it has been really helpful to tell students that
this is a chance to see how it feels to go away to school.
"It's great to see what's out there and dip our toes in the
water," said CollegeQuest student Marissa Lamoureux. "Now, we get
to see if we want to go far away to college or stay close to
Student Fardowsa Ibrahim said she knew she was interested in a
career in health care, but didn't know what the best field would be
for her. She said CollegeQuest gives her an opportunity to explore
LaPointe said the program has funding for a third year in 2014,
which gives them time to plan for sustainability. They are now
exploring more funding options for the future.
CSJ President Rich Lloyd said it is an honor to host College
Quest and its students on campus.
"We are proud to have these highly motivated students on our
campus to dedicate six-weeks of their summer vacation to college
and career exploration," Lloyd said.