January 2010
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
Spotlight on Success
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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 health professional school applicants.

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

(919) 966-2264
[email protected]

Motivational Minute

It's a new year, and a great time for a new attitude! Let's go into 2010   determined to look at things in a more positive way. Here is some food for thought to fuel you to overcome any obstacle you might face this year:  

"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." 
                -Kahlil Gibran

Health Careers 101

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you feel "corporate America" is right for you and plan to become a CEO of a major corporation? Don't have tunnel vision! Why not put those business skills to use by leading and managing the operations of a hospital? Keep reading to find out what it takes to be a business leader in the health care field. 

Hospital Administrator
Hospital administrators lead and manage hospitals, outpatient clinics and treatment centers. They oversee the day-to-day operations of all departments [including services, finances, policies, programs, facilities, staff concerns and community relations], making sure hospitals operate efficiently and provide adequate medical care to all patients. 

Salary: $225,000 

Education: You will need at least a master's degree in hospital administration

Hot Link: Visit http://www.hospitaladminlinx.com for more information. 

Source: NC-HCAP Health Careers Information & Enrichment Workshop manual
Spotlight on Success

Heart to Heart with Kevin McCowan
By Deb Hanson

Kevin McCowan was UNC Hospitals' first African-American male general surgery resident. But that's something he rarely thinks about. McCowan says his primary concern is his patients' welfare. 
"I have very positive relations with my patients," he said, "because I listen and spend time with them and they appreciate that. I truly love what I do."
The oldest of three boys, McCowan grew up in Anderson, SC, a small town located near Clemson University. "I believed at a very early age that I could do whatever I wanted," he said. "My family was very supportive and always told me that the only barriers that would stop me would be those I created for myself. When I was thirteen years old I made the decision to become a doctor. I've stuck with it ever since." 
With ten varsity letters under his belt, McCowan was offered a full scholarship during his senior year to play football at Presbyterian College, a small school in Clinton, S.C. Two weeks before he was to report to camp, however, McCowan said he got a funny feeling that he just wasn't supposed to go there. "I don't know why, but for some reason I decided I wanted to go to a historically black institution, and my family, friends and teachers kept telling me that Morehouse College was where I needed to be. Apparently they knew something that I didn't."
McCowan shared the idea of attending Morehouse with his football coach, who immediately got on the phone with the college, sent of a copy of McCowan's transcript and a roll of game film. McCowan was offered a full scholarship the next day. He had no idea what he was in for. 
I'll never forget the first semester," he recalled. "I had the most difficult chemistry professor there, with class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m. I sat down front, only missed one lecture and made a F. I was destroyed!"
But McCowan toughed it out and graduated from Morehouse in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He didn't feel like he was prepared for medical school, so on the advice of a faculty advisor, McCowan headed for graduate school at the UNC- CH School of Public Health. Out-of-state tuition became too much of a burden for McCowan, and he had to take a semester off. 
During his time off, McCowan worked as a medical technologist at Duke University Medical Center. The job afforded him some valuable educational experiences, but his heart was still in the classroom.
In 1987, McCowan was accepted into the Medical Education Development (MED) Program and finished the program in the top three. He returned to graduate studies in the fall of 1987 and in the spring of 1988 McCowan was accepted into a dual degree, the Medicine-Public Health program at UNC-CH. 
McCowan has had the opportunity to travel to England and Europe for surgical research and several third-year clerkships. He completed a clerkship in trauma and neurosurgery at Harlem Hospital in New York, a year of transplantation immunological research in the UNC Department of Surgery and a year as president of the UNC Chapter of the Student National Medical Association and the John B. Graham Student Research Society. 
McCowan graduated from the UNC General Surgery Residency Program in 1999 and now works at a private practice in Georgia. He has come a long way and has paved the road for other kids to follow in his footsteps.  
"I have a tremendous responsibility to my community. I take it personally when kids drop out of school or the less-fortunate cannot receive proper medical attention."
McCowan considers it a personal responsibility to be a role model for minority kids. He hopes to show them that they can achieve everything he has and more.

Strategies for Success
Decision Time: Tips for finding the right college match

Decisions, decisions, decisions! If you're a high school senior, there are tons of important choices for you to make right now. One of them might have to do with the pile of college acceptance letters on your dresser. So, how do you find the right match?

According to CollegeBoard.com's "Tips for Finding a College Match," when choosing a college, you should consider the following:

1. The size of the student body
The size of the school can impact things like the majors offered, the size and depth of library resources, the type and number of extracurricular activities and more. Do you thrive in large classes with hundreds of other students or do you need small classes to excel? Know your learning style and consider what works best for you in terms of school size.

2. The location
Decide if you want to stay close to home for frequent visits or if you want to explore other parts of the country during your college experience. 

3. The academic majors offered and the reputation of your potential major
Research the actual departments and your major, not just the school in general. Look at the overall strength of the programs and compare to the other schools you are considering.

4. The diversity of the student population
Consider whether the prospective college has students from various backgrounds, ethnicities and interest areas to enhance your college experience. 

5. The cost to attend
This may be a key factor when narrowing down your schools of choice. In addition to tuition, look at all the other expenses you might incur including room and board, cost of books and student fees as these all impact the bottom line.

6. The school's retention and graduation rates
Checking out these rates will help you know how students perform at the institutions you are considering.

7. The campus life and school culture
Look at the extracurricular activities, athletics and special interest groups available as well as available activities in the community around the college. Are students welcomed by the community? How are dorms assigned and is housing guaranteed? Campus life is an important part of your college experience, so make sure it's a good fit for you and your interests.

College Planning and Preparation
Find information on preparing for college at www.collegeboard.com
College Search
Browse college rankings, research and evaluate different colleges and universities, and pick the best match to meet your needs at http://www.princetonreview.com.
Financial Aid
High School Seniors, electronically submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

The Carolina Covenant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a college financing commitment between the university and historically low-income youth in North Carolina. Find out more at http://www.unc.edu/carolinacovenant/.

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.

Health Careers
Explore a wide variety of health careers at nchealthcareers.com and www.explorehealthcareers.org.

North Carolina Colleges and Universities
Learn more about North Carolina's 16 public universities by visiting the UNC System Website.

Hospital Administration
Find out more about Hospital Administration at www.hospitaladminlinx.com.

  Meet Ms. Rivera
As the pre-college outreach coordinator, Koyah Rivera is responsible for planning, developing and implementing pre-college outreach initiatives across North Carolina.

Before joining NC-HCAP, 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.