First Cohort of Oswego County’s Early College Health Sciences Students Graduate

Posted on June 20, 2024

Fulton Seniors Complete Early College Health Sciences Program

(Oswego, NY – June 18, 2024) Investing in the future of healthcare is paramount for the well-being of society. In 2019, Oswego Health and Cayuga Community College came together to form the first Early College Health Sciences program in Oswego County in collaboration with G. Ray Bodley High School, Mexico High School, and Hannibal High School to offer hands-on learning for students in grades 9-12 with career exploration opportunities in the field of healthcare.

“By providing students with the opportunity to shadow different areas in healthcare while earning college-level credits, we lay the foundation for a robust and sustainable healthcare system right here in our community,” explained Marq Brown, VP of Human Resources & Chief People Officer at Oswego Health, who led this initiative and program. “I’m proud of my colleagues at Cayuga Community College and our local high schools who saw the value in providing students this wonderful pathway not available in traditional high school settings.”

As part of the Early College Health Sciences Program, the local high schools, Oswego Health, and Cayuga Community College wanted to provide an educational initiative designed to provide local high school students with a head start in pursuing careers in healthcare. This program offers dual enrollment with a combination of high school coursework and college-level courses focused on health sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, and psychology. The first cohort of 24 Oswego County students will graduate high school this June with 30-40 college credits towards a healthcare-related Cayuga degree, all of which have been a part of the program since 9th grade.  Throughout the experience, the students shadow multiple Oswego Health locations and have shadowing opportunities in all areas of nursing, medical imaging, the laboratory, pharmacy, central sterile, physical therapy, and wound care. These experiences give students practical exposure to the healthcare field and help them develop essential skills and knowledge.

“For many years, Cayuga Community College and Fulton City School District (FCSD) have placed high value on creating meaningful early college pathways that inspire students to think about their future early on and provide a jumpstart in the right curricula, saving them time and money. FCSD and Cayuga identified regional healthcare needs as a primary area of focus, and this aligned well with Cayuga’s outstanding Health Sciences and Nursing programs,” said Professor Sarah Yaw, Cayuga’s Director of K-12 Partnerships & Academic Pathways. “Collaborations like the Early College Health Sciences program with FCSD and Oswego Health will change the education landscape in our region by aligning academic opportunity, meaningful support, and career exploration to build pipelines into high-paying, in-demand jobs right here at home.”

Participating and completing the Early College Health Sciences program were Natalie Babcock and Emily Burlingame of Mexico High School and 22 seniors from G. Ray Bodley High School including Geena Abbott, Paige Ball, Olivia Bauer, Anna Bednarz, Matisyn Brockway, Lauren Bush, Paityn Cali, Harper Ells, Cameren Fragale, Natalie Frost, Gabrielle Fuller, Megan Gates, Alexa Halstead, Beverly Hotchkiss, Grace Kilpatrick, Breanna Murphy, Alyssa Sawyer, Jenna Sitar, Rihanna Sparks, Kobe St. Onge, Aiden Trude, and Abigail Waters.

Working closely with G. Ray Bodley High School, Mexico High School, and Hannibal High School, the students received career exploration activities and guidance to help explore various healthcare professions and determine their areas of interest. They also received support with college applications, financial aid, and career planning to help students transition smoothly from high school to higher education and eventually into healthcare careers.

“We are always looking to expand our programming so that students feel more connected to school and their future,” explained Nate Murray, Principal at G. Ray Bodley High School.   “This opportunity for our students has kept many students engaged in school and excelling academically and extracurricularly.  We are very proud of this inaugural group!  They certainly took a chance on a new program and have learned many valuable skills and lessons from this program.  They also have experienced the investments that have been made in them from our post-secondary partner in Cayuga Community College and business partner, Oswego Health.  They are set up on a fast track to success!”

This first cohort of students demonstrates a strong work ethic, resilience, and a passion for healthcare in our community. By combining rigorous coursework, shadowing experiences, and support services, these programs offered by our local high schools, Oswego Health and Cayuga Community College help students develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to succeed in college and pursue rewarding careers in healthcare. This investment ensures that we have a skilled and passionate workforce ready to tackle the healthcare challenges of tomorrow and provide high-quality care to all individuals.

<Photo caption 1: Seniors from G. Ray Bodley High School graduate on June 14th from the Early College Health Science Program offered by Oswego Health and Cayuga Community College; Photo caption 2: Seniors, Natalie Babcock and Emily Burlingame of Mexico High School complete Early College Health Science Program offered by Oswego Health and Cayuga Community College.

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About Oswego Health:

The mission of Oswego Health is to provide accessible, quality care and improve the health of residents throughout Oswego County. As a nonprofit healthcare system established in 1881, Oswego Health is proud to be Oswego County’s largest private employer. More than 1,300 employees spread throughout its 18 locations, work for the Oswego Health system, which includes the 132-bed community Oswego Hospital, a 32-bed psychiatric acute-care facility with multiple outpatient behavioral health service locations, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, and Springside at Seneca Hill, an independent retirement community.  The health system also operates Oswego Health Home Care, the only hospital-based certified home healthcare agency in the County as well as two outpatient centers, including the Fulton Medical Center, offering urgent care, lab, medical imaging, physical therapy, and occupational health services, and the Central Square Medical Center, offering urgent care, lab, medical imaging, and physical therapy services. In addition, Oswego Health includes the Oswego Health captive professional corporation, Physician Care P.C., providing physician services in orthopedics, cardiology, ENT, gastroenterology, breast care, audiology, general surgery, bariatrics, urology, and primary care. For more information about Oswego Health visit www.oswegohealth.org.

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Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce

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