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Inside Mini-Med: High school students share their journey from exploration to career decisions

Megan Cook knew she had an interest in health care, but she did not know what her career path might look like. So, the Edwardsburg High School junior decided to attend Mini-Medical University. The weeklong immersion last summer at Memorial Hospital exceeded her expectations.

Mini-Med students don surgical gowns and gloves.

“I hoped to gain more knowledge and potentially the career path I want to go down,” Megan said. “But being a part of Mini-Med gave me so much more. I wasn’t 100 percent sure what career I wanted to go into, but this program helped me make that decision. It gave me such a great experience that will be a part of me forever.”

Mini-Med is a one-of-a-kind learning experience for rising high school juniors and seniors who are 15 to 18 years old. Admitted students, like Megan, become immersed in various healthcare professions, experiencing the vibrancy of the hospital through presentations and activities alongside our Beacon physicians, clinicians and care teams. The weeklong curriculum has included lectures from clinicians in specialty areas, labs and exposure to clinical units and services.

“When I was first introduced to labor and delivery, it became an interest right away, but getting to experience what it’s actually like there was amazing,” Megan said. “I think the biggest thing for me was watching new life being brought into this world and how the nurses really cared for their patients — both mom and baby. I am now taking college classes at Southwestern Michigan College to become a labor and delivery nurse, and I thank Mini-Med for that.”

Mini-Med students participate in a dissection exercise.

Applications and information night

Mini-Med Information Night is scheduled from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. Click here for more details and to RSVP. This is a time to learn more about the program, ask questions and hear what Mini-Med graduates say about their experiences.

Summer 2024 application materials will be released to those in attendance, and materials will become available for download on this webpage in the weeks following. Student applicants are asked to write a statement of interest and provide a letter of recommendation.

Three sessions are planned for summer 2024:

  • Session 101A: Monday, June 3 – Friday, June 7
  • Session 101B: Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21
  • Session 101C: Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 12

Penn High School student Olivia Nijim also had an interest in medicine. Because she wanted to have more clarity about what career she might pursue after graduation, and eventually serve her community by volunteering at Memorial Hospital, she decided to attend Mini-Med.

“I was thinking about what college to go to, what to major in and what career I’d eventually like to pursue. I really enjoyed the program and learning about different medical fields,” Olivia said. “My favorite day was the shadowing day. I was lucky enough to shadow a Neonatologist, which was super interesting and inspiring. Mini-Med definitely helped steer me toward medicine, which was very helpful because I was very unsure about what I wanted to do.”

About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.