It's not your typical summer camp.
Instead of earning merit badges, kids are learning how to suture, dissect, and other skills doctors need to know.
At the AIM-High Medical Immersion Camp at Nova Southeastern University, high school students learn what it’s really is like to be a doctor.
“Many students look at television and think that’s the life of a physician," said Elaine Wallace, DO, MS, Dean at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University.
But this intensive one-week, hands-on camp shows the not-so-glamorous aspects.
“So those students learn suturing, they learn how to use the needle driver, they learn how to sew. But they also get to dissect the eyeballs of sheep and brains of calves in order to see what the structures look like," Wallace said.
These pre-med campers are exposed to a variety of specialties and a look into the future of healthcare.
“It really cultivates an enthusiasm and a penchant for learning and thinking beyond what one has currently been exposed to," said Kristi Messer, LCSW, MPH, Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern.
Like 16-year-old Jayden Burnett, who wanted to be an electrical engineer until a sports injury and subsequent surgery changed his mind.
“I said I want to do that, I want to fix people, to be able to put them back together better than they were originally,” Burnett shared.
And that’s really the overall goal of this program: helping these teens decide if med school is really what they want.
“About three-fourths of them do want to go into medicine and it affirms their decision and their life choice,” Wallace said.
Just ask the camp counselors who are currently med students. Their advice? If you really want this, don’t give up!
“As long as they have that dream they will find a way to make it work," said Sheikh Ali, a 2nd-year Med Student at Nova Southeastern University.
These high school students also get the real college experience living in the dorms for the week. The AIM-High program is open to any student across the United States who has a passion for medicine.
The application process starts in January and the camp fills up quickly, allowing 48 students each week. Nineteen full scholarships are available for students who qualify, and two 50 percent scholarships are offered. Without any financial assistance, the camp costs $1,200. Visit the camp's website for more information.
Allentown, PA 18102