April 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
Strategies for Success
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 health professional school applicants.

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

(919) 966-2264
[email protected]

Motivational Minute

"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 the something I can do."

- Helen Keller

She did not allow her challenges to become limitations. With determination and hard work, you can too!

Health Careers 101

Anne Sullivan was considered a miracle worker by helping Helen Keller break through the language barrier and learn to communicate.

Interested in becoming a modern day miracle worker? Look at a career in Speech-Language Pathology!

Speech-Language Pathologist
Treats problems with speech, voice, language and eating.


Education: You will need a master's degree to provide speech language therapy. Other requirements typically include 400 hours of supervised clinical experience and nine months of postgraduate professional clinical experience.

Want to know more? Speech language pathologists fine-tune speech patterns, help people who stutter or have speech/violence problems related to stroke, traumatic head injuries or developmental problems, and work to cure swallowing disorders. Since the ability to hear can affect speech, speech-language pathologists often work closely with audiologists.

Hot Link: Visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Web site at www.asha.org

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.

The oldest of three boys, McCowan grew up in Anderson, S.C. At the age of 13, he made the decision to become a doctor and has stuck with his passion ever since.

Although McCowan was offered a full scholarship during his senior year to play football at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., he decided to go to Morehouse College, a historically black institution in Atlanta, Ga.

"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 an 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 McCowan headed for graduate school at the UNC School of Public Health.

While taking a semester off, McCowan worked as a medical technologist at Duke University Medical Center, where he gained valuable educational experiences.

In 1987, McCowan was accepted into the Medical Education Development (MED) Program at UNC and finished the program in the top three. In the spring of 1988, McCowan was accepted into a dual degree curriculum, UNC's Medicine-Public Health Program.

McCowan has had the opportunity to travel to 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 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 students to follow in his footsteps.

McCowan considers it a personal responsibility to be a role model for minority kids and hopes to show them that they can achieve everything he has and more.

Strategies for Success

Finding the Right College for You

Different schools fit different students

Choosing a college is a major decision, and it's also a personal one. What may be the perfect college for your best friend may not be right for you. Look at the criteria below and decide which is most important to you.

(1) Diversity of academic offerings: Larger schools have more professors and usually offer a wider variety of courses, specialized equipment and larger research libraries. However, smaller schools develop special programs in selected fields and can match the opportunities at the larger school in a specific program.

(2) Diversity of student activities: Smaller colleges offer fewer activities and student groups, but you may have more opportunities for leadership roles.

(3) Student body composition: While you are likely to meet interesting and different people wherever you go to college, it is important to consider the makeup of the student body you are interested in joining.

(4) Location: Things you may want to consider include distance from home, climate, recreational opportunities, cost of living and opportunities for part-time employment and internships.

(5) Cost of attendance: DO NOT rule out any school based on cost alone prior to finding out possible financial aid. Even though tuition and fees may be lower at a public university, keep in mind that scholarships, grants and work-study opportunities might make an independent college or university just as affordable.

Source: The College Foundation of North Carolina
College Planning and Preparation

Access resources to plan, apply and pay for college at www.CFNC.org.
Summer Program Opportunities

To connect to your local Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program and find a summer program opportunities, visit: www.nchealthcareers.org

Tap into youth programs and activities in the ares of science, math and engineering at:http://www.cgibin.ncsu.edu/sh-bin/k12-directory/visitor.pl

  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.