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Student-led organization gives UCS students exposure to medical-science careers
Student-led organization gives UCS students exposure to medical-science careers
Posted on 09/24/2021
FocuSSTEM NextGen students at informational booth

As students begin thinking about their career path after UCS, it is extremely helpful for them to have a direction in mind in order to gauge their success along the way. FocuSStem NextGen is a student-led organization dedicated to providing a path for students who are underrepresented in medical sciences fields. Through the organization, high school students gain exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers in southeast Michigan.

FocuSSTEM NexTGen general member and Utica Academy for International Studies (UAIS) junior, Brittany Clark, said she feels that being involved with the organization is a great opportunity.

As a member of FocuSSTEM NextGen, “students get to experience different medical fields that aren’t well known and have the chance to explore those areas,” said Clark.

By partnering with organizations such as the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Wayne State School of Medicine, students can learn about specific medical professions and engage in interactive presentations that mimic real-life medical situations. Additionally, members get to meet other students from across southeast Michigan who are pursuing similar college and career paths.

3 of the 10 student leaders of the group are from UCS, including Vice President of FocuSSTEM NextGen and UAIS senior, Sadie Blaszczyk, who said her involvement with the organization has been life changing.

“I was first inspired to join FocuSSTEM because my grandfather was a patient at Karmanos,” said Blaszczyk. “Now I have an overwhelming passion for this incredible group of people.”

Along with learning about the various medical science career paths available, this year FocuSSTEM NextGen members also plan to give back to the medical staff that have been tirelessly working throughout the pandemic, and well before, too.

“Despite the everyday pressure of their job, they selflessly take the time to support us,” said Blaszczyk. “My goal as vice president is to shower them in appreciation and implement it as a core part of the program for future generations.”

Shared experiences, personal support, wisdom and the opportunity to work alongside healthcare professionals. For Blaszczyk, it’s opportunities like these that help her start dreaming of future careers.  

“I am inspired to be a cancer-fighter and support future generations of cancer-fighters in my grandfather’s honor.”