ASU health solutions faculty, staff mentor high school students

Adela Grando speaking at front of classroom

Faculty mentors from the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University recently advised young women interested in a career in health. These young women were from Mountain Pointe High School in the Tempe Union High School District.

Women’s Mentor Day, a half-day program, introduced students to the vast realm of opportunities in the health care industry. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, just 24 percent of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is female. The College of Health Solutions mentors are hoping to increase that number.

Alison Essary, director of student affairs for the college, was enthusiastic to introduce the young women to new areas that may not have been previously emphasized.

“It was a great opportunity for ASU faculty to create meaningful connections with female high school students interested in health professions,” she said.

Essary discussed her own pathway to health care along with Adela Grando, assistant professor with the Department of Biomedical Informatics; Erin Harper, instructor; and Shannon Ringenbach, associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College.

“Most of us took indirect pathways to achieve our current careers. None of us imagined we would hold our current positions in academia,” Essary said. Before coming to ASU in late 2012, Essary was a physicians assistant.

In addition to finances, they also discussed the importance of including women in prominent positions. “Neglecting the skills and talents of women will lead to a workforce that fails to represent our patient and student populations,” Grando said.

The mentors encouraged the young women to stick to their goals: “Don’t feel limited by the ‘traditional’ model of career and family,” Essary said.

Women’s Mentor Day demonstrated ASU’s commitment to mentorship at all stages of education. The mentors supported all career aspirations. “Follow your academic strengths and passions,” Ringenbach said. “Those will lead you to the most productive and fulfilling careers."

Essary said she was thrilled by the young women’s enthusiasm, and is looking forward to continued mentoring of others: “We are so happy to be working with these students – the future of health care!”

Written by Erinn Riley