The president’s commission on women played host to female high school students in the surrounding area March 27, introducing them to the health field profession, and the rigors of college life.
This year’s event was developed by the Girls Rock @ Health committee consisting of five SRU Women faculty or staff members: assistant professor in the athletic training program Kim Keeley, assistant director of undergraduate and graduate admissions Amanda Crow, assistant professor in physician’s assistant program Jaime Hammond, graduate assistant for Women’s Center and Pride Center Ashley Craig, and assistant director in Career Education & Development Renee Coyne, who took the charge when it came to coordinating the event.
High schools in attendance were: Slippery Rock, Lincoln, Neshannock, Shenango, Butler, Karns City and South Range area high school.
Coyne said the goals of this year’s event were to increase student’s interest and knowledge in the health career field. Additionally, the commission wanted to increase the girl’s interest in applying for college, specifically Slippery Rock, Coyne added. However, the general purpose set out by the commission is to expose high school students to college life, and what is expected in any major, Coyne said. Girls Rock events have been an annual stable put on by the President’s commission on Women and the supported colleges represented, Coyne said, with past events including Girls Rock @ Business, Communication and STEM, respectively.
For the health and STEM events, the commission worked with 9th and 10th graders opposed to their usual demographic of 11th and 12th to encourage them to persist thru current math and science classes, Coyne said. Additionally, the commission recommended the students continue to take higher level math and science classes in 11th and 12th grade, optional, so, they are prepared for the college level courses, Coyne added.
The day began at 9:30 in the student center theater with President Cheryl Norton welcoming the students. Norton’s address focused on the many paths women’s careers can take, challenges women face and being open to new opportunities, Coyne said. Activities kicked off around 945 when an overview of potential health careers was presented to students.
After a break, students had the option relocate to the student center ballroom, Patterson hall or to the physical therapy building where they participated in two 30 minute lab sessions. Lab options, based on the building, were physical therapy, physician assistant, exercise science and public health.
Some of the exercises were learning how to properly exercise, participating in fitness sessions, exploring strength training exercises, learning to wrap an injured athlete, sterile environment practices, public health education, food label analysis, and equine-assisted riding procedure, Coyne said.
After that, another break transpired for a pizza party back in the student center theater, the initial starting point.
Recharged and refueled, students traveled to the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center or Patterson Hall, where two more lab sessions took place on athletic training or recreational therapy.
“I was delighted to see the success of the individual workshops,” Coyne said. “That’s really what inspires, motivates, and engages high school students towards majors and careers in health and helping fields. It was wonderful to see Slippery Rock students take the lead on workshops and the presentations and realize how far they had come in their academic learning as well as personal and character growth since being in high school.”
At approximately 2 p.m., the event wrapped up with evaluations on what was learned before the students headed back to their respective high schools.
“I can’t thank the SRU faculty and students enough because they gave up their own free time, adjusted class times, and prepared specialized workshops and activities for these students,” Coyne said. “It really shows the unending commitment that our staff, faculty, and students have to educate, support, and serve SRU as well as our regional community.”
Brenda DeVincentis, senior high school counselor at Neshannock High School, went out of her way to thank Coyne for the event.
“Renee, I just wanted to follow up with a huge thank you for a great program. Our girls learned a lot, had fun, and got to see the campus of SRU,” DeVincentis said. “The teams of people you chose were excellent speakers and excellent choices for girls. I especially enjoyed listening to the president and her story.”
April Thellman, 10th-12th grade school Counselor at Lincoln High School in Ellwood City, also raved about the event.
“Our girls had a great time, plus it was extremely informative in so many ways,” Thellman said. “We hope to see you for this event again next year. Based on the feedback from guidance counselors and teachers, it was an incredibly successful event.”
The event is held in conjunction with Women’s history month, and the President’s Commission on Women’s programming month which is March, Coyne said, and another Girls Rock event is in the works.