JOLIET – On June 14, during the Integrated Public Health and Healthcare System Preparedness Summit at Illinois State University, three Joliet West High School students presented a poster they created to promote the shared mission of Joliet West’s Health Occupation Students of America group and the Will County Health Department’s Medical Reserve Corps volunteers.
This partnership, which begin during the recent school year, has allowed the HOSA students to take part in numerous MRC events, contributing to their education and training for future careers.
The three Joliet West students – Guadalupe Becerra, Paola Patino and Alyna Navarrete – all hope to work in the pediatrics field. Becerra and Patino, who are seniors this fall and also participate in Joliet West’s ROTC program, are both hoping to work in pediatric oncology.
Becerra plans to “be the backbone for the kids” as a pediatric nurse when they need comfort and support in their battles against major illnesses. She also is considering becoming a military nurse.
Patino, who hopes to be a doctor in pediatric oncology, said it would be wonderful to work with her friend Guadalupe as a team. “You’d have the doctor, who needs to know all about cells, cancer and tumors; and the nurse, who provides the strength that the children especially need.”
Navarrete, who is a junior this fall at Joliet West is considering working in pediatric cardiology.
In addition to providing volunteer event assistance at the public health conference, the three students displayed their poster showing the MRC-HOSA partnership during the poster presentation portion of the summit.
Their club sponsor, Mary Spata, is a registered nurse who taught Becerra, Patino and Navarrete in a Joliet West health care class.
While HOSA participants are high school students, the MRC individuals can be anyone 18 and older interested in being involved in the community. Health Department emergency response coordinator Katie Weber said these two programs complement each other well.
Patino, Navarrete, and fellow student and HOSA member Sydnie Martin also attended HOSA Nationals in Orlando. They showed a 30-second PSA on tornado preparedness that they created, with the help of the “Movie Maker” software program, to the theme of “The Three Little Pigs.”
In addition, another Joliet West HOSA student, Krystal Steg, competed at the HOSA Nationals in the pharmacology category.