Scripps Orthopedic Researchers Help College Students Refine Their Career Path

A select group of students from San Diego colleges got a crash course on careers in medicine, science, statistics and engineering when they visited the Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education (SCORE) at Scripps Clinic for a day.

Young adults from San Diego City College, San Diego State University and Southwestern College participated in Shadow Day 2009. Coordinated by the San Diego Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Program, the one-day event matched local employers with students in math, science or biology degree programs who wanted to learn more about the “real world” of working in an engineering or scientific environment.

“It was awesome,” said Ashley Pourazary, a 19-year-old sophomore from San Diego City College. “Rather than just taking a class in a field I’m interested in, I got an opportunity to see the medical and research field from unique point of view.”

Nine students participated in Shadow Day at SCORE. They watched a video of a total knee replacement surgery, toured the laboratories, listened to lectures, and talked with scientists, engineers and other staff members about their individual career paths and day-to-day job responsibilities.

“I was inspired,” said Hugo Aguilar. A 25-year-old biology major from San Diego City College, he returned to school after serving in the Marines. “I am still making decisions about my career path, so this was helpful.”

Many of the participants in the MESA program are low-income, first generation college students who may not have mentors or role models from the math and science world. Shadow Day provides an opportunity to build invaluable connections within the medical and research community.

”Community partners like SCORE are a critical part of the program’s success,” said Theresa Garcia, director of the MESA Engineering Program at SDSU.

“We all enjoyed having them here,” said SCORE’s medical director, Clifford Colwell, MD. “These bright students are the basis of tomorrow’s discoveries and the backbone of our health care delivery system in the future. This program gave us an opportunity to spark an interest in a career that could benefit the students and generations to come. That’s invaluable.”