Helping small visitors dream big
Published December 21, 2012
On a fall morning, fourth graders from Bismarck’s Myhre Elementary School filed into a study room at Sudro Hall.
Dana Davis, director of recruitment for College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences, was there to greet them and lead them through a youth program called the Great Health Care Adventure.
The students quickly settled around a large table and shrugged winter coats off their small shoulders, revealing NDSU T-shirts.
“What kinds of jobs do you think there are in health care?” Davis asked.
Hands raised. Pharmacy, someone said. Nurse. Surgeon. Dentist.
Davis walked them through majors offered in the College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences: medical laboratory science, radiologic sciences, respiratory care, pharmacy, nursing.
She launched into a kid-friendly explanation of medical laboratory science with, “Have you ever had blood drawn? What do they do with the blood?” She explained lab technicians are like medical detectives.
Myhre school counselor Dave Fey stood back and observed. He was pleased when the students’ teacher asked how many years pharmacists go to college. He wanted them to hear the answer. He wanted to see them inspired.
Several years ago, a survey of Myhre students indicated a large percentage had little hope they would graduate from high school.
In response, the school secured a grant from the Bank of North Dakota. The name for the initiative was literally what teachers and administrators want to give their students: Hope for the Future.
The initiative introduces every grade level to careers and higher education. Each class has adopted a North Dakota or South Dakota college or university. A wall in each classroom is dedicated to posters, pennants and other items that represent the adopted institution. Younger students receive visits from college sports teams or other representatives. Upper grade levels, such as NDSU’s fourth grade visitors, take field trips.
The efforts have made a difference, Fey said. The 2011 survey responses were significantly more optimistic. Ninety-five percent of students believed they would finish high school.
The highlight of the fourth graders’ visit to Sudro was an activity designed to show how science applies to health care. They put “glo-germs” on their hands and used a black light to see where the germs settled. They checked their hands for germs again after using hand sanitizer and then soap and water.
During their day at NDSU, the fourth graders also toured campus, participated in an engineering activity at the College of Engineering and Architecture and visited the entomology department.
Fey enjoys hearing the students compare notes with kids in other classes about what they did on their field trips. He likes it even more when he hears a student say, “I want to go here,” at the end of a visit.