San Gabriel’s Multi-Purpose Room was awash with medical professionals on Dec. 4, when the Medical Careers Academy (MCA) held their annual Mentor Mixer to promote student interest in medical careers. Academy coordinators utilized connections to get a well-rounded list of guest speakers, ranging from doctors, therapists, nurses, paramedics, and veterinarians. Dr. Sheri Johnson, a general and surgical veterinarian, Dr. Michael Ko, a physical therapist, and Garett Roach, a paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) intern were some of the 12 professionals in attendance.
The event started with dinner and snacks served to the mentors and the 72 students who participated. Then the speakers were introduced by Cynthia Okimura, the club’s adviser, who planned the event two months prior.
Each student was encouraged to visit stations with a mentor and discuss career questions, requirements, and future concerns for a maximum of ten minutes. The students gathered around tables–some even standing to learn more about the mentors in front of them.
Dr. Sheri Johnson said, "I was grateful to have the opportunity to share my experiences in the veterinary field with the MCA students and appreciated their enthusiasm for the medical profession."
After every student went to at least a total of five different stations, it was time to gather around and thank the mentors for attending the event. Each mentor received a certificate as a token of MCA’s gratitude for devoting their time to the event.
Senior Melissa Benavides, president of MCA, supported Okimura in planning and organizing the event and noted that this was one of the best mixers she has attended in her three years of participating in the academy.
"I think what we got out of mentor mixer this year, we got more information about all the careers out there or careers we did not know about [than in any other year],” Benavides said. “I think this will open a new path[s for] us to decide [which] career we want to pursue.”
Okimura hopes to extend the Academy’s annual mentor mixer into something bigger next year with many more guests and students participating.
This article was written by Carolina Loiasiga, junior, Sports Editor, The Matador, San Gabriel High School.
Photo Caption A: MCA students learn how to perform a complete physical examination on Maya, the dog of Dr. Sheri Johnson, at the Mentor Mixer held Dec. 4 at San Gabriel High School.
Photo Caption B: Phlebotomist Andrew Carrasco shares his experiences working in the medical field with Medical Careers Academy students.