Over 70 students complete Columbia VA’s summer program

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Seventy-four students completed a two-month summer program through the Columbia VA Healthcare System.

The eight week “Summer Student Program” exposes the high school and undergraduate level students to a wide range of services and job opportunities within the healthcare system.

Students get to work directly with VA Healthcare staff while serving local Veterans.

Jessica Sayegh says the program helps cultivate students who want to go into the medicine or research fields.

“Being able to be part of an experience where people have so much potential is absolutely amazing, because you see some of these students want to be a dermatologist, some of these students want to be cardiac surgeons. They have such high aspirations. And then this program right here cultivates that for them. It allows them to see it. It allows them to talk to people who have done it,” Sayegh says.

Logan Eads says he worked in a research lab at the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine as part of the program –focusing on research around heart disease.

“The most impactful thing for me was just learning how to do research.  I got so much better at reading scientific articles, knowing what I’m looking for and getting quicker, which was nice, and just kind of seeing the process and feeling more confident that I could go into that environment again and kind of know how things work,” Eads says.

High school student Abdullah Amir says he’s always known he wants to be in the medical field one day and believes the program provided him with unique experiences.

“I was assigned to the GI Department, so over there I would help the nurses do some paperwork, make some stool collecting kits, and they also let me go with a doctor to observe some endoscopies,” says Amir.

Michael Ryan, Associate Chief of Staff for Research with the Columbia VA, says it’s important to award the students’ efforts with Thursday’s luncheon.

“These students need to know what they’ve accomplished is important and know that we as the leaders at the hospital appreciate what they’re doing. And that we’re looking forward to them being the future of the VA and of science and of healthcare for Veterans,” says Ryan.

The Columbia VA Healthcare System reports that it serves more than 90,000 Veterans annually across multiple counties in South Carolina.

Categories: Local News, Midlands Military Matters, News