Skip To Main Content
Pittsburg High School Juniors Attend KU Women in Healthcare Program

In November, 2023 Pittsburg High School Juniors, Sahara Garcia and Grace Cho were two of only twelve high school females across the state of Kansas to attend The University of Kansas Women in Healthcare program. 

“The program involved touring the Medical center, shadowing some occupations in the hospital, and hands-on experiences,” Garcia said. “We went through a lot of labs and tons of helpful presentations to further our learning in the healthcare industry.”

The Women in Health Care program is through an application process that selects up to 16 students from across the state of Kansas. Pittsburg High School Health Care Instructor, Stuart Perez encourages his students to apply for opportunities like these in spite of fears that they may not be accepted.

“I got the chance to be in this program due to Mr. Perez. He sent out an email about this opportunity, and even knowing how competitive it was, I decided to apply,” Garcia Said. “The application process involved signing a lot of paperwork and a written essay on why I wanted to be in the program. I personally wrote about my experiences being a first generation student who struggled to get to where I am now. I wrote about how I wanted to see more diversity in the aspect of having more healthcare professionals who had similar paths to me.”

PHS offers many opportunities for students interested in the healthcare field to extend their knowledge and gain experiences before they even graduate high school. 

“PHS has the CTE Health Care pathway. Students can take Introduction to Health Care, and then Health Care II. They can then choose to take CNA, EMT or our Clinical Shadow class,” Perez said. “Students also have the opportunity to be involved in HOSA - Future Health Professionals. HOSA provides opportunities in health career exploration and leadership skills.” 

Along with the healthcare centered opportunities at PHS, Cho expresses the benefit of being involved in lots of different organizations.

“The biggest factor [in being prepared for a program like the one at KU] would be HOSA because it is for [students] interested in healthcare,” Cho said “The other programs that you wouldn't typically think would help [in association to healthcare] are debate and theater. I was very shy as a freshman, but since I've been involved in debate and theater they have helped me to try new things and gain confidence in myself.”

Both Garcia and Cho feel as if the KU Women in Healthcare program has benefited them greatly and has increased their interests in the healthcare field.

“It definitely inspired me. I think that being around others who have the same goal as you will help motivate you to work harder towards your goal,” Cho said. “I'm very grateful for everyone who supported me, and for Sahara for sharing this experience with me.”

With goals to continue their education in healthcare, Garcia and Cho are looking forward to the opportunities their senior year, and beyond high school, will bring.

“I would love to, in the future, be a medical professional. My dream career would be a foot and ankle surgeon,” Garcia said. “I think that this opportunity of being in the KU program just solidified my decision. I feel more and more motivated to put effort into going down all of those years of schooling that it takes to become a surgeon.”

See more photos of the program on the KU AHEC website:

Read More