For a group of 29 select Farmington High School Freshmen, their first year in high school is shaping up to be so much more than the standard fare of football games and pep rallies. They are part of a new four year program, the only one in southeast Missouri, that allows them the opportunity of to explore a fascinating career in Biomedicine and earn college credit at the same time.
This past August, the high school kicked of its maiden year of the Biomedical Science Program allowing the student to explore human medicine and familiarizing them with concepts in physiology, genetics, microbiology and public health. The program, sponsored by Project Lead the Way, (PLTW) who works with students across the country, creates a hands-on project based engineering and biomedical program that allows students to be exposed to areas of studies they typically do not provide.
“PLTW basically works with schools across the country to offer real world experience. The Biomed Program is an extension of that program,” said Dr. Nathan Hostetler, principal of Farmington High School.
Over the course of four years, the students will take foundation courses that build upon each other. This year, selected freshman will begin the program taking the Principles of Biomedical Science. They will progress to studying the Human Body Systems their sophomore year, followed by Medical Interventions, where students investigate the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Finally, during their senior year, they will finish with Biomedical Innovation where they will be able to work with a mentor in hospital or a health lab.
“Each year, the Biomedicine program is more research,” said Courtney McIntyre, the science and biology teacher who leads this program. “So by their senior year, they will meet with a professor in the health field and do basically a mini-residency.”
Since the program is a four year program, it is only available to incoming freshman who must go through a selection process to get picked for the program. As eighth graders, the students must obtain letters of recommendations from teachers and go through an interview process in order to participate in the program.
“We spoke to students at the middle school, St. Paul’s and at St. Joseph’s and explained the program to them,” said McIntyre. “We had thirty seats and we took twenty-nine.”
As the students began the inaugural year in this program, they begin to discover biology concepts through the study of human disease. They are to discover what led up to a fictional character’s death.
“This year they are given a case study, and they are to find out the cause of death. To make things more interesting, the students are to report to a crime scene where they begin their investigation,” said McIntyre. “We have to do blood splatter analysis and hair analysis.”
As the year has progressed, the popularity of this program has been picking up steam. The students are getting excited about working in this field. So much so, McIntyre says upper classmen were wishing they had the program available to them.
Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached by calling 573-756-8927 or email@example.com.