Flint Southwestern students explore career pathways at Wayne State and Hurley Medical Center

FLINT, Michigan — On April 18, Flint Southwestern Classical Academy juniors and seniors ventured to Wayne State University in Detroit to explore the campus and, for some, to get their last-minute college experiences out the way before graduation.

Through a collaborative partnership between Central Michigan University and Wayne State’s MI GEAR UP programs, Southwestern students could explore Wayne State’s campus, engage with college students, enjoy lunch in the dining hall, and enjoy a planetarium showcase. Wayne State's Lindsay Scott and Blake Braxton, program coordinators from the Office of Federal TRIO/ MI GEAR UP, and two university students planned and facilitated the trip.

Since the start of the school year, Southwestern juniors and seniors have traveled to explore and gain greater awareness of the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) 15 public universities. The universities visited were Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, Oakland University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Saginaw Valley State, and Wayne State. 

The purpose of these college trips goes beyond just visiting different university campuses. It’s about empowering Flint students, broadening their horizons, and giving them the freedom to carve their paths. Cody Jonaitis, a College and Career Adviser from AmeriCorps at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Michigan, echoes this sentiment.

“Taking students on college tours is one of my favorite parts of being a College and Career Adviser at Flint Southwestern Classical Academy. Being outside of the high school setting allows me to get to know my students, and it is always great to see them enthusiastic about college,” says Jonaitis. 

Flint Southwestern students attend Hurley Medical Center's Healthcare Career Day on April 19, 2024. (Xzavier Simon | Flintside.com)
“Especially working in an inner-city high school, most of our students don’t often get the opportunity to leave Flint, and it is important for them to experience the different environments of college campuses. College trips allow them to envision themselves as college students, and they are always excited to get a taste of independent college life. [Overall], visiting campus broadens their perspective of what is possible and what they can achieve.”

The journey to career pathways didn’t end with the university visits. It continued with a stop at Hurley Medical Center on April 19 for the hospital’s Hurley Medical Center Healthcare Career Day. Over forty freshmen, sophomores, and staff from Flint Southwestern attended the annual free event — an opportunity to network and gain a behind-the-scenes look into various healthcare professions. 

Students pose with Hurley Hospital's Jamal Dozier after a certificate ceremony inside Hurley Auditorium on April 19, 2024. (Courtesy photo)
Sponsored by the Genesee County Medical Society Alliance and Hurley’s Human Resources Department, the career day started with introductions and presentations from multiple hospital staff in departments like pharmacy, surgery, and physician assistants. A tour followed, taking students into the hospital’s warehouse area, where workers explained how inventory, deliveries, and shipments keep the entire hospital stocked with supplies. 

The students then explored the radiology department to gain insight into the importance of X-ray technicians, radiologists, and MRI technologists. The tour concluded with conversations with IT staff about the importance of information technology in hospital settings and a walk-through of Hurley’s adult and children’s ER department.

Afterward, students were given certificates of attendance to attend the event next year with an even larger group of students, shared by Ms. Trishanda Williams, M.A. Ed. and Vocational Business Teacher.

Wayne State University's planetarium gave a presentation of the universe during Southwestern's campus visit on April 18, 2024. (Xzavier Simon | Flintside.com)
"Southwestern Classical Academy students participated in Hurley Health Careers Day, and we explored employment opportunities that our students could prepare for in the medical field," says Williams. "We heard from several wonderful individuals [who] were excited to talk about their careers in Pharmacist, Male Nurse, IT Department, Hurley Warehouse, X-ray, CT, Radiology, and many more areas in which the students were captivated by the information shared with them."

"This is an annual field trip to a business in Flint," Williams continued. "Hurley offers a wide range of opportunities, from a job that requires a certificate to a doctor or director that requires a PhD; it depends on where the student wants to start in [their] career. The staff that attended this event was well pleased with the hospitality that our students received during our visit. Thank you to CMU GEAR UP for sponsoring this event."
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