College of Science

High school students learn about Clemson health majors at Tigers on Call event


CLEMSON — Ten motivated ninth through twelfth graders attended the first annual College of Science Tigers on Call II: Path to Health Professions event for high school students on Feb. 17, 2020, at Clemson University. The participants explored Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career paths to becoming a doctor or other type of healthcare professional through campus lab tours and interactions with Clemson pre-health students.

Harolynn Williams presenting at HS Tigers on Call
Harolynn Williams presents an overview at the first annual College of Science Tigers on Call II: Path to Health Professions event for high school students on Feb. 17, 2020 on campus.

According to Renee Lyons, director of science education outreach in the College of Science, the high schoolers saw practical applications of STEM content by touring the labs of faculty members Zhicheng Dou and Anna Seekatz (biological sciences), Leah Casabianca (chemistry), Jianbo Gao (physic and astronomy), and Meredith Morris (genetics and biochemistry).

For example, they explored the mechanisms of infectious parasites and learned how scientists are using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to study the interactions between nanomaterials and biological molecules.

Nitya Harikumar, a junior at J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, attended the event to learn more about courses and majors. She looked forward to the tour portion of the program, where she could learn more about biomedical devices.

“I hope Tigers on Call will help me decide between pre-med or engineering as my major,” Harikumar said.

Freshman Juan Pablo Hernandez Arvede from Pendleton High School attended the event to learn more about how to become a surgeon or other type of physician. He was accompanied by his mother, Ana Arvede—one of six parents in attendance.

“I am so excited to support him because he works hard for his dreams and is interested in three different areas [of medicine],” Arvede said. “It’s awesome that he can see what Clemson offers.”

In her remarks, Lyons encouraged the students to take advantage of other opportunities to learn about science careers throughout the year. For example, students can attend Tiger Talks (formerly Science on Tap), where faculty meet with community members in Greenville and Pendleton once each month to discuss interesting topics in science.

“The fact that you’re here today on your day off from school, tells me you’re already taking the right steps to a career in a health profession,” Lyons said.

The idea for Tigers on Call II: Path to Health Professions grew out of the annual Tigers on Call: Making Connections in Healthcare event that brings about 50 Clemson alumni in health-related fields together with 200 current Clemson students each fall for networking and discussions to prepare the students for careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, physical or occupational therapy, and other health professions.

“A lot of times students don’t know what they don’t know, so the earlier we start getting them involved with healthcare outside of the science classes, the better,” said Harolynn Williams, Director of the college’s Health Professionals Advising office, which sponsored the event with the Clemson College of Science Life Sciences Outreach Center and student organization, MAPS, Multicultural Association of Pre-Medical Students.

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