Students get head start BPHC summer programs

By 
Jeannette Origel, Special to the Reporter
Aug. 28, 2014

For many students, summer means relaxing and soaking up the sun, but 75 teens from across Boston have spent their summer learning about a variety of health careers, public health topics, and how to make positive changes in their communities through summer enrichment programs at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).

The program runs over six weeks and students have spent each day engaged in a variety of training and academic preparation. From Monday through Thursday they attended classes and internships while Fridays involved field trips and community service projects.

Seventeen-year-old Koby Redd of Codman Square took a calculus and anatomy course during the summer to prepare for his senior year at Roxbury Latin School. In addition, every Tuesday he took a college prep course that helped students with college essays and connected them with college students who gave teens their perspectives on the campus experience. And fifteen-year-old Charlestown High School sophomore Angerica Maldonado, of the Ashmont section of Dorchester, took a geometry course. The two also participated in electives focused around something creative: Redd participated in spoken word poetry, a type of performance-based poetry reading, and Maldonado in step dancing.

The teens also had the opportunity to learn about a broad range of health occupations through job shadowing at health care and public health profession sites. These enrichment programs have served more than 10,000 teens over 35 years, helping young people become local health leaders, serve their communities through activism, and enter college.

Redd completed his internship at Tufts Dental School, where he shadowed third and fourth year dental students as an assistant. “I’ve done a couple of years of dentistry internship, and it was eye opening and a great experience, so that stuck with me,” he said. And after meeting a pharmacist at a health expo, he is interested in possibly entering that field.

Maldonado, who interned at Children’s Hospital, hopes to become an ultrasound technician after graduating. “I’ve been interested in health careers all my life,” she says. “so deciding what field to go into in the future is no trouble at all.”

BPHC’s summer program is about getting youth trained and excited about health careers. “It helped me in a big way, they introduced me to a whole field that if I hadn’t taken this program I probably wouldn’t have thought about,” said Redd.

“It gave me a head start in the academic year,” added Maldonado who will be studying geometry in the fall at school. “It’s good preparation and it helps a lot.”