MCC pre-professional day gives students access to future

Bianca Moorman/The Meridian Star

John B. Smith Jr. D.M.D, assistant dean for admissions and interim assistant dean for student affairs for the school of dentistry at The University of Mississippi Medical Center, speaks to Southeast High School students Deanna Reed, 19, Ashonta Wills, 17, and Patrick Martin, 16, during Meridian Community College's pre-professional day Friday at the Tommy Dulaney Center.

With plans to work in radiology, Southeast High School junior Patrick Martin,16, decided it would be a good idea to get a head start in thinking about college and what it takes to get into a medical school.

“I want to learn about my future, what can I do in college and get information about my future,” Martin said.

He was one of 230 students from area schools and Meridian Community College who took part in a pre-professional day Friday morning at the Tommy Dulaney Center. The event allows students to learn about carers in science, which includes medicine, physical therapy and engineering.

The event also provides students an opportunity to connect with colleges to learn about academic requirements and the possibility of earning scholarships to cover costs. 

Friday was the first time Martin attended the pre-professional day. He said he's interested in the medical field because he likes how bones work. Though he was focused on learning about one career, Martin said he was glad he had a chance to explore options for colleges and other careers in the medical field besides radiology.

“It is a good idea because you get exposure to different things,” Martin said.

MCC student Joseph May, 19, said he hoped meeting representatives from various schools will help him take one step closer to becoming a dentist. After having braces when he was younger, May said he thought it was cool how braces can fix a lot of problems.

Events such as pre-professional day will allow him to get connected with various schools and maybe get a scholarship through the Mississippi Rural Dentist Scholarship program, May said.

“I need to talk to them and make those connections, so I will have a better chance in getting into those programs,” May said.

Stephanie Brown, a biology teacher at MCC and coordinator for the event, said the event is good for students who are interested in a science profession and who want to go beyond four years of college.

"They figure out not only job opportunities but also what does it take to become one of these professionals," Brown said.

Brown said over the years she has seen the increase of more girls going into traditionally male-dominated fields such as engineering and more boys going into traditionally female-dominated fields such as nursing. Brown said the main goal of the event is to prepare students for the future.

"So the students that prepare best for those professions, in doing their shadowing, doing the courses they need, do well on the entrance tests, it makes them more competitive with their application and gives them a greater chance of success once they are in the school themselves," she said.

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