Local high school students experience hands-on learning at School of Health Sciences

April 04, 2023

Students from North Haven visit the School of Health Sciences

Hands-on activities and a view into the broad range of allied healthcare and health science professions introduced Quinnipiac’s School of Health Sciences to over 50 local high school students during a recent visit.

On March 31, North Haven High School (NHHS) students studying anatomy and physiology with teacher David Jacob traveled to Quinnipiac’s North Haven campus.

“We are always excited to have local high school students visit our campus and experience what an education at Quinnipiac University looks like,” said Dean of the School of Health Sciences Janelle Chiasera. “The School of Health Sciences is happy to be hosting our neighbors here on the North Haven campus.”

Jacob said the visit is a rewarding and exceptional extension of his students’ coursework.

“Through the use of creative and interactive teaching methods, we challenge our students to help them develop an intrinsic joy in learning about the structure and function of the human body," said Jacob. "Our visit to Quinnipiac will demonstrate to our students what the future holds for their next phase of academic exploration. We are grateful for this opportunity. I’m excited for them to have some of the professors talk about human body tissues these students can identify. When they do it in this venue, I think it’s remarkable for their self-confidence.”

Jacob’s students experienced hands-on practical anatomy and histology labs, toured the School of Health Sciences' state-of-the-art facilities and spoke with a health science student panel.

Gisela Rodriguez, co-program director and clinical assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences, directed a first-hand delve into the endocrine system. During the 45-minute activity, Rodriguez provided a brief lecture, then guided masked-and-gloved students through endocrine organ dissections.

“I want to give them a taste of what it’s like to be a student here,” said Rodriguez. “It’s about the excitement to want to learn, and not just here at Quinnipiac. For any field in healthcare, you’ve got to have that feeling to want to help others, and to want to learn.”

The histology activity was led by Robert Cottrell, chair and clinical associate professor of biomedical sciences and program director of pathologists’ assistant studies. Cottrell engaged and informed students as they joined him in reviewing pathology specimens through a multi-head teaching microscope.

“It starts with being comfortable,” said Cottrell. “The environment has to be where you see yourself because then you are more prone to explore not only the learning space, but those around you, and stay engaged and want to keep coming back. It’s on the instructor to make sure they create that environment and not just throw words and material at them and say, ‘Digest this; memorize it.’ Sometimes we shut down laptops, shut down books and it’s just meaningful conversation.”

“The professors we met today were so nice and informative,” said North Haven High School senior Summer Mastriano, who will join Quinnipiac as an undergraduate in the School of Health Sciences' physician’s assistant program in the fall. “I felt really comfortable around them. It was a great experience. I’m very excited to go into next year and expand my knowledge.”

Jesse McCoy, clinical coordinator and clinical assistant professor for pathologists’ assistant studies, toured the facility with students and discussed the constellation of patient-facing and research career options branching out from SHS programs.

The information was a key takeaway for North Haven High School senior Maren Hill, interested in studying neuroscience.

“I like how there’s a lot of different options, and how the tour showed us the wide variety of options you can study here,” said Hill.

Introducing the School of Health Sciences' student panel to the high school group, Chiasera said, “Our incredible students were, not so many years ago, just like you sitting in this room.”

Reagan Barry ’23 said her college tour of Quinnipiac’s campuses and the School of Health Sciences' hands-on learning opportunities drew her to the school.

“I remember specifically my tour guide was able to take me into the Standardized Patient Assessment Center, which has exam rooms where actors come in and play patients and you learn how to give a physical exam and how to communicate with them," said Barry. "I’d never seen anything like it before. Things like that, which are so unique to Quinnipiac, make it so special.”

Ann-Elise White, MHS ’24, said she was attracted to Quinnipiac’s reputation for launching careers.

“In the pathologists’ assistant program, there’s a second-year clinical rotation where you go to hospitals and learn directly from those clinical experiences," said White. "Quinnipiac has been around for a long time, so they have amazing connections with some of the best hospitals on the east coast and in the country. They have those relationships so they can set up your clinical rotations there, which gives you a great head start in your career.”

Additional School of Health Sciences' student panelists were Emma Gatz ’24, Chari Byington MHS ’24, Alex Bayer BSN ’25, and Dylan Kloiber ’22, OTD ’25.

“I hope that, at the very least, you’ve had an opportunity to see what an education would be like here,” Chiasera said to the high school students.

Chiasera also recommended that pre-college students seek further exposure by joining university summer camp programs, such as Quinnipiac’s Healthcare Career Exploration Academy.

“There is a wide range of opportunities that exist in healthcare,” Chiasera said.

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