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Medical Academy launches mentorship program

The Hartselle High School Medical Academy will be launching a new mentorship program this year to pair students with alumni in their area of study. The program will allow high school students to get an inside look at the area of study they are interested in and better prepare for the transition to post-secondary education. 

Lynne Shelton oversees the medical academy at Hartselle High School, and she said the program is something she has been wanting to start the past three years. 

“We have loosely done this in the past. Like if I knew of a student that was going to the same college and was going to be in the same healthcare program as one of my former students, I would try to set that up,” Shelton said. “I want to do that in a more formal manner starting this school year.”

The program will work through a network of Hartselle High graduates who are pursuing careers in the medical field or are working in some aspect of the medical field. They will provide the mentee with advice on the application process for their interested field and tell the student what they can expect.  

“There are several goals we are going to try to achieve. One of those is that our senior students would make more informed decisions since they will have more resources available to them,” Shelton said. “Another is that they would able to network more effectively. Hopefully it would ease the transition from their secondary studies to their post-secondary programs of study. 

“Another goal would be to help them develop more effective communication skills to be able to communicate in a more professional manner,” Shelton added. 

“For our former students, they are able to actually provide an invaluable service, and they can further develop their leadership skills,” Shelton continued. “I am really excited. I have reached out to 55 former students, and everyone that I talked to is so excited to be a part of it.”

Shelton said throughout the year she will direct conversations between the two to help the students make more informed career decisions. “We will set up structured communications between the two. We will just use that mentor’s preferred method of communication, and my current students will be required to reach out to them to ask appropriate questions related to their area of study,” Shelton said. “Hopefully I can facilitate that to ask things about the application process and what all is involved in that and what will make them a more competitive applicant.” 

Shelton said Hartselle High alumni represent various medical fields, including nursing, pediatrics, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, physician’s assistants and more. 

“What I am hoping is that these mentors will help the senior students get a clearer picture of what it’s really like to be in those programs of study. You hear nursing school is really hard or pharmacy school is really hard, but this way they will have a better understanding of what all is involved.”

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