ALTAMONT — Senior Clara Rucker is the first student at Labette County High School to get to participate in Women in Health Care: The Next Generation.
The KU Medical Center Area Health Education Center recently created the program, exclusive to female students in Kansas, as a way to encourage women to become leaders in health care.
The three-day program takes about 10 Kansas high school junior and senior female students who have shown a strong interest and commitment to health care careers and provides them with the opportunity to interact with health professions students and faculty at KU Medical Center. Through this program, the students have the chance to explore the world of medicine and health care.
Based on recommendations and her essay, Rucker was among 16 students chosen from 40 applicants around Kansas to participate in the program last week.
“We got to tour the different programs and did hands-on activities,” Rucker said.
“We had a full-schedule the 3 1/2 days we were there. They toured us around their campus and we got to see different research labs, clinical areas, student departments. One of the cool things we got to do was visit Dr. Robie’s lab, a major research lab there at KU Med, and they let us do a little experiment. We isolated RNA from mouse cells. So, super cool experience.
“I think it helped affirm I was choosing the right thing, that I want to go into a field of helping people. It showed me different options in different areas I could work in,” she said.
Rucker has participated in Kim McMunn’s health careers classes all four years of high school.
“In Mrs. McMunn’s class we get to see a lot of health professions, but this experience particularly was focused not only on women in health care, so not only did we get to see a lot of cool, advanced stuff, we got to see women accelerating in their fields,” she said. “It was empowering to see that we can do it, too.
“I’m just very grateful for the opportunity that came up and that I was able to find this, apply for it and get accepted. It was a really neat experience.”
Her aspirations for the future are to be a nurse and work in an intensive care neonatal unit.
“If I was to pursue nursing in a NICU facility, I think one of my main focuses would be minoring in family studies or social work because when families are sent to the NICU it is a traumatic experience helping. So, helping those families bond together and help them heal not only physically but mentally and emotionally is important.”
As a senior she is now applying to various colleges and community colleges and has been filling out many scholarship applications, and she is excited for what awaits.
“I encouraged her to apply for it. She’s well deserving. She has been in my classes all four years and from Day One she was serious and knew she wanted to go into health care,” McMunn said. “She has done everything she possibly could to prepare for college.
“She’s a very caring person. She makes me proud to be her teacher, and I’m very blessed to get to be her teacher.”