Bloomfield students shadow the professionals at Connecticut Children

BLOOMFIELD – Some want to be nurses. Some want to become doctors. Others want to become social workers. Two are very anaesthetized.

A group of Bloomfield High School students interested in healthcare careers after graduation participate in a partnership with Connecticut Children’s in hopes of getting a taste of the career they want.

“I really want to work in psychology or social work because of things I’ve been through in my past,” says Bloomfield High School senior Jacquelyn Watkins. “I really want to be a home social worker.”

Watkins and eight of her colleagues spent time in class with Connecticut Children’s health professionals, but on Friday morning the students headed to Hartford to spend a morning with a mentor and experience the jobs firsthand.

The connection between Bloomfield High School and Connecticut Children’s is unique to Bloomfield because of a friendship between Bloomfield Superintendent James Thompson and a physician assistant, Garry Lapidus. Newly hired school-to-career specialist, Destiny Davis, took the reins of the program.

“It was a perfect match because they needed someone to manage the logistics of the program, and that’s in my job description, so we were married,” Davis said.

A graduate of Bloomfield High School herself, Davis said she hopes she can provide students with opportunities she’s loved.

“I’m trying to fill in the gaps I felt when I was a high school student,” Davis said. “I try to be to them what I would like someone to be to me.”

Friday morning’s shadow opportunity marked the culmination of an ongoing relationship between the hospital and the high school. Throughout the semester and summer, there were career panels and hands-on classroom activities.

“They’re getting hands-on experience extracting gels, running DNA, followed by the career panelists, including healthcare, business and management, and STEM, with individuals from those disciplines coming from Connecticut Children’s to Bloomfield High School,” says Carolyn Macica, director of research activities and development at Connecticut Children’s. “They talked a lot about their careers and their career paths, how they got to where they are today, what they like about the jobs, what they had to do to get to that position.”

Students followed graduate nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants and other medical professionals for two hours on Friday morning. The professionals volunteered to be mentors in a survey distributed by Danielle Chenard, senior manager of the research program.

Davis said that while not every school district has this partnership with Connecticut Children’s, she thinks it makes sense for Bloomfield students to be a good fit.

“Our students have a certain level of drive,” Davis said. “They’re eager to learn. They’re eager to come and put their toe in the water. And I can work with that. If you want, I can pair it up and make it happen. They’ll do the rest themselves. “

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