Health Profession Students Qualify for National Conference

Austin Walls, a Pinkerton Academy senior from Auburn, thought HOSA, an after-school club for students in the health occupations program, would be a good tool to help further his career. “I’m planning to be an Army combat medic,” he said.

Twenty members of the Pinkerton HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) chapter have been named eligible to attend the National Conference, to be held June 24-27 in Anaheim, Calif. They were also named New Hampshire’s Outstanding Chapter and designated a Gold Star Chapter at the State Conference, held March 19 and 20 at Dartmouth College. They are future doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and registered nurses, and while they joke among themselves, they take their responsibility seriously.

Before a recent chapter meeting, students said they had varying reasons for joining.

Samantha Hebeisen, a senior from Hampstead, said it was a “great way to get involved,” and exposed her to more people and opportunities in the health care field.

Derry senior Elizabeth Webber said, “I wanted to get more of an ‘in,’ to know more about the health care field.”

“It is a jumpstart on my career,” Rhianna Moyer, a junior from Hampstead, said.

Chapter adviser Derek Earle said 36 students from Pinkerton attended the conference and 20 qualified for Nationals. They had to score first, second or third in a variety of events, from written tests to speeches and presentations to a quiz bowl-type event.

For example, Walls and member Justin Poitras, also a senior from Auburn, took a Pathophysiology test with 100 questions. Walls took a “first” and Poitras a “second” in the event. Ethan Landry and chapter president James Halkiotis competed in the HOSA Bowl, which Landry described as “A sort of ‘medical Jeopardy.’” He was nervous, Landry said, at one point buzzing an answer before the question ended.

What was the question? “What part of the heart receives the oxygen in the blood?”

“Atrium,” his fellow members chorused.

Other projects, while not involving a buzzer, required poise and quick thinking. Hebeisen and Webber did a Health Care Career display. “We had to pick a profession and explain what they did and their salary expectations,” Hebeisen said. “We had to present it to judges.”

They were nervous, Webber said, and “we sang before the presentation to calm our nerves.” Though they didn’t place, both girls said they had fun.

Aside from the chance to test their skills and the prospect of Anaheim, the students enjoyed meeting other teens focused on health careers from around the state. And then there was Dartmouth itself, which pulled out all the stops to be hospitable and educate the students.

Walls said the presenters in the sessions were impressive. “We heard from a doctor who used to be an eighth-grade math teacher,” he said. “We heard from two fire captains from surrounding towns. There was even a real cadaver.”

“Last year we had the DaVinci robot,” Halkiotis said.

“It’s like a video game. We got it to shoot rubber bands,” Landry said, adding, “It was cool!”

“The food was fantastic,” Landry added.

Hannan agreed. “The coffee was great,” she said.

At the state event Pinkerton students won:

• First-place awards in the following categories: Brittany Gagne, Medical Spelling; Julia Hannan, Nutrition; Austin Wells, Pathophysiology; Julia Toohey, Healthy Lifestyles; and Christian Sullivan and Angelina Ouwerkwek, team, Forensic Medicine.

• Second-place awards: James Halkiotis, Ethan Landry, Chelsea Carbee, Elizabeth St. Jean, team, HOSA Bowl; Amelia McCaffrey, Nutrition; Justin Poitras, Pathophysiology; Rhianna Moyer, Human Growth and Development; and Michelle Webb, Extemporaneous Writing.

• Third-place awards: Kelsey Gosselin, Medical Spelling; Nicole Langlais, Researched Persuasive Speaking; and Taylor Lacey, Heather Miller, Brenna Thibodeau and Samantha Mitchell, team, HOSA Bowl.

In addition, chapter member Samantha Mitchell was elected state Vice-President.

Advisers are Derek Earle and Lisa Chamberlain.