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A Summer of Opportunity

By: KCA Senior Oliver

The author of this month's blog post is KCA senior Oliver. He is sharing his experience with UMKC's STAHR program.

Over the summer, I was privileged to participate in UMKC’s Students Training in Academia, Health, and Research (STAHR) program. When I first heard of STAHR through one of our science teachers, Janet, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. The program seemed far more advanced and professional than I was in my healthcare journey. Thanks to Janet’s encouragement, I applied and was selected out of over 100 applicants from across the country.

This program specializes in exposing students to different healthcare professions, focusing on healthcare equity. During my time in the program, I met with healthcare professionals from all over the state, attended medical lectures, and participated in hands-on labs, like suturing and intubation. When I wasn’t in a medical environment, I was in an academic one. Every morning, we began class with ACT prep, which consisted of practice tests, one-on-one math instruction, and fun games to expose us to the material. Outside of ACT prep, STAHR professionals taught us how to network, write resumes, and college and financial planning. One of my favorite moments was when we had the opportunity to network with healthcare professionals and college admission officers. This gave me the opportunity to get my name out there while also allowing me to speak my truth.

Participating in STAHR was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it didn’t come without its struggles. Classes ran virtually for most of the program, and I found it difficult to come to class every day. I wasn’t used to staring at a screen for 40 hours a week. Luckily, my STAHR leaders understood this and supported me when I needed it. They helped me to learn that determination, discipline, and passion were essential to my success, and I began to put them into practice. By doing this, I started to excel in the program and was awarded the SuperSTAHR award, noting my success in medicine and academia.

As I said, STAHR was truly life-changing. I met lifelong friends, experienced healthcare professions firsthand, and challenged myself in ways I never had before. But most importantly, it truly cemented my love for medicine and the duty I have to my community to make it a better place.

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