May 2009

Welcome to Pathways!
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Our goal is to serve as a resource for you as you navigate the pathway through school and, ultimately, to a health career. Each month, you'll receive career and college planning tips, advice and resources to help you make your health career dreams a reality.

News from NC-HCAP...

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NC-HCAP now has a home on Facebook. Stay connected to NC-HCAP and all the resources and activities we offer to help you make your health career dreams a reality.
In This Issue
Motivational Minute
Health Careers 101
Question of the Month
Join our Mailing List!
The North Carolina Health Careers Access Program (NC-HCAP) is located at UNC-Chapel Hill. Additional campus-based centers are located at Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Established in 1971 by Dr. Cecil G. Sheps, we work to increase the number of underrepresented minorities or economically and/or educationally disadvantaged students who are educated, trained and employed in the health professions.

For more than 35 years, we have provided thousands of students with a variety of programs and activities to raise their awareness of opportunities available within the health professions and to increase their competitiveness as a health professional school applicant.

We're always here to assist you. Simply contact us at:

(919) 966-2264
[email protected]
Motivational Minute

"We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough."

~ Helen Keller

               Helen Adams Keller
          (June 27, 1880 - June 1, 1968)
As you prepare for your future, obstacles and road blocks are sure to get in your way. Do you just give up? Or do you face those obstacles with determination, ready to fight and overcome them?

Helen Keller did just that! Considered an inspirational icon by many, Keller was an author, political activist, and lecturer. Having lost her sight and her hearing at a very young age, Keller went on to become the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

What will you be the first to accomplish?

Don't let anything stand in your way as you go for your goals!

More words of inspiration from Helen Keller:

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do."

Health Careers 101
Is it a bird?! Is it a plane?! NO! It's a Research Scientist!
And he's working to protect us from disease!

We've all heard of Superman saving the day from super villians, but do you know who works tirelessly to keep us safe from infectious diseases like the Swine Flu?

Research scientists are on the job, and they use their scientific knowledge to study disease and improve health!

Research Scientists
These professionals research diseases in order to improve health. Research can be basic, such as investigating the underlying basis of health and disease, or it can be more detailed such as conducting clinical research investigating methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human disorders. Research scientists can specialize in many areas including biochemistry, molecular biology, physics, and virology.

Salary: $86,000 or more

Education: You will need at least a master's degree, and in most cases, a doctorate degree in order to conduct this type of research.

Hot Link:
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Source: NC-HCAP Health Careers Information & Enrichment Workshop manual
Spotlight on  Success
Tips for a Productive Summer Break
Ever heard the expression "lazy summer days?" When you aspire to be a successful health professional, you have little time for lazy days!

You need to make the most of your time, even during those months off from school. And these five tips from the College Board will help you turn your summer break into a productive time.

  1. Get involved in activities related to your passion.
  2. Find shadowing, internship, or volunteer opportunities to learn more about the career you're planning to pursue.
  3. Give back to the community by volunteering your time with a local organization, charity, or non-profit organization.
  4. Enroll in summer classes open to students at the college or community college level to further hone your skills and continue to learn through the summer.
  5. Read, read, read, and read some more! Plunge into summer reading lists and discover a whole new world out there.

Question of the Month
Do you have a college or career planning question you'd like to ask? If so, email Mrs. Rivera at [email protected] Each month, at least one question will be answered right here in Pathways.

Question: My mom said I should look into jobs that are going to be in demand in the future. What are the fastest growing health career jobs out there?
Anonymous high school student, NC
In light of the current economic situation, many people are interested in finding out what careers have a good job outlook. Here are some of the fastest growing health careers in North Carolina:

Personal and home care aides       
Mental health counselors       
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
Medical assistants            
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
Physical therapist assistants       
Veterinary technologists and technicians
Medical scientists, except epidemiologists
Pharmacy technicians          
Marriage and family therapists       
Physician assistants         
Psychiatric aides           
Medical and public health social workers
Home health aides           
Physical therapists          
Biomedical engineers           
Dental hygienists            

State Data Source: The Employment Security Commission of North Carolina

College Planning and Preparation
Find information on college careers & majors, the college application process, and financial aid at

Find information on preparing for college at
Enrichment Programs
For information about additional health professions enrichment programs, activities, and summer camps in your local area, contact the NC Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) in your area.

Financial Aid
For information to help you plan, apply, and pay for college, contact The College Foundation of North Carolina.

Scholarships are available based on many different criteria: financial need, merit, and chosen college major. Begin your search today at Fastweb.

Health Careers
Explore various health careers, read about students and professionals in the health field, and even locate information on current health-related issues and topics at and

Volunteer Opportunities 
Looking for volunteer opportunities? Check out
  Meet Mrs. Rivera
As the pre-college coordinator, Mrs. Koyah Rivera is responsible for planning, developing and implementing pre-college outreach initiatives across North Carolina.

Before joining NC-HCAP, Ms. Rivera was employed as a college admissions counselor at Shaw University in Raleigh. She has served as a Language Arts teacher for Wake County Public Schools and TV news producer/writer at two NBC TV stations. She is also the founder/executive director/TV host of Beyond Gifted, Inc., a non-profit organization which produces the "Beyond Gifted" television program to assist K-12 students in developing post-secondary plans to reach school and life success. She received dual B.A. degrees in communications and English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.