TEMPLE, Texas — A long-time friendship has opened up a partnership that is providing real-life experience for a group of Temple High School students. One class of health science students at Temple High is being mentored by Texas A&M College of Medicine students in a partnership that dates back to the 2018-19 school year.
Temple High School principal, Dr. Jason Mayo, and Chris Diem, Associate Director of Academic Support Services for the Texas A&M College of Medicine, have been friends for years. That friendship helped form the partnership between the two groups that led to the current mentorship program. This school year, a group of 6-10 College of Medicine students is meeting with Elizabeth Maybin’s sophomore-level medical terminology class on a monthly basis. The monthly sessions are designed to give the high school students a chance to learn from the College of Medicine students’ first-hand experience in an effort to help develop the next generation of health care professionals. Previous sessions this school year have focused on which courses to take to get from high school sophomore to medical or nursing school, resume building and finding scholarship and financial aid opportunities. Seventeen Temple High School students are currently participating in the mentorship program.
“I hope my students see the huge benefit it is to be able to get ahead of the game through this partnership,” Maybin said. “They are learning about the stepping-stones on the path to that end goal of a career in medicine. You can see the light bulb go on with some of these students as they develop an understanding about everything that is involved with getting there. This really helps them figure some things out now and teaches them about some of the decisions and sacrifices they might have to make along the way.”
In addition to the head start provided from the medical school mentors, students in THS’ health services program also have the opportunity to graduate from high school with one of four certifications. Students can earn certificates in emergency medical technician, pharmacy technician, certified medical assistant or certified nurse’s assistant.
“Those certifications can allow students to go straight from high school into a job in the medical field,” Maybin said. “That can help them make good money while using the same skills they would use down the road as they move on to medical or nursing school if they decide to go in that direction.”
The College of Medicine students also get more than the opportunity to serve as mentors for the high school students, They also get a chance to share their first-hand experience about what it takes to prepare for a career in medicine, in a variety of roles.
“The end goal of the mentorship for high school students is for them to see the path forward,” Diem said. “They get help in seeing how to get to that end goal. For our students who have reached that goal, this is really a chance to pay it forward and help mentor and guide the next generation of medical students.”
For the first couple of years the program existed, high school students were given the opportunity to visit the College of Medicine’s campus. Restrictions due to the pandemic have temporarily moved all the sessions to the high school. Diem is hopeful that restrictions may soon ease enough for high school students to again have the opportunity to visit the college campus. The next mentorship session is scheduled for Thursday, December 9th, at Temple High School.
The partnership with Texas A&M College of Medicine also extends beyond the high school mentorship program for Temple ISD. College of Medicine students have also volunteered as mentors for elementary and middle school students over the last four years.