Pipeline programs: Health Sciences Academy (spring 2013); Dental Career Exploration (summer 2013)
Year in school: High school senior
High school/hometown: Richmond Community High School, Richmond, Va.
Interview date: Summer 2013
Ashley Mark became interested in a career in the health sciences at the beginning of her junior year in high school, just as a new health careers exploration course, offered through the VCU Health Sciences Academy, was being introduced at her school.
She credits her high school counselor with introducing her to the exploration course, which allowed her to gain exposure to the health professions. Afterward, Mark decided she wanted to focus on pursuing a career in pediatric dentistry, so she then participated in the Dental Career Exploration Program at the VCU School of Dentistry during the summer of 2013.
Mark learned not only about a career in dentistry through the program, but also about being a dental student.
“I was surprised to learn that while you are in dental school, you have patients that you work with,” she said.
As Mark continues her senior year in high school, she appreciates that she received far more from the programs than just learning about education and careers in the health professions.
“The programs helped to improve my study habits, gain a lot of information about health careers and motivated me to work even harder in school so that I can be successful later in life,” she said. “Both of the programs helped to guide me to my goal.”