HCOP program assists high school graduates
Contact: Scott Maier, Senior Editor 381-3639
Posted: 08/03/2000
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Recent high school graduates interested in health care and medicine are preparing for post-secondary education through the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Sponsored by a grant from the Division of Disadvantaged Assistance, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HCOP is designed to increase the number of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who enter and graduate from health and allied health professional schools.

"The goal of the summer enrichment program is to prepare these students academically, socially, and emotionally for their upcoming college career," said Carlos Cavazos, HCOP academic advisor.

"College life is very different from what they've experienced and we want to make the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible."

Tom Herbst, HCOP associate director,

Tom Herbst
said another goal is to enable participants to find careers in health sciences without leaving the Rio Grande Valley.

Twenty-eight students are enrolled in the six-week Pre-Freshman Summer Bridge Program of HCOP, attending classes in chemistry, biology, math, writing and study skills. The program within the College of Health Sciences and Human Services began July 12 and ends Aug. 23.

This summer's group is the fifth class of HCOP students, Herbst said. Besides the summer enrichment program, HCOP monitors each student's progress and provides career counseling and advising while the student attends UT Pan American.

Mercy Edionwe, a second-year HCOP participant, is thankful for the opportunity to learn about college through the UT Pan American program.

"HCOP has really been a tremendous benefit for me in several ways," Edionwe said. "It gave me an insight in what to expect my first year, introduced me to several motivating professors, made me more aware of the various careers in health care and provided me with so many good friends who I often talk to on a daily basis."

Areas of study selected by HCOP students include pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, rehabilitative services, dietetics, clinical lab sciences, communication disorders, social work and clinical psychology.

Students receive a $40 daily stipend during the summer program.