A scholar can be many things: someone with ambition and perseverance; someone who faces and gets through adversity; someone who can see themselves anywhere.
These were just a few of the attributes that students in the DC Health and Academic Prep Program (DC HAPP) at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) contributed to the definition during their graduation celebration.
DC HAPP is a pipeline program coordinated by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at SMHS to increase access to health careers and foster diversity in the medical field. Sixteen rising 11th and 12th graders from Washington, D.C. area public schools are selected for the four-week summer experience based on their passion and potential for medicine.
“DC HAPP exposed me to the different health careers and motivated me to keep pushing forward,” said graduating scholar Elizabeth Lozano, about her clinical shadowing opportunity. “My mentors really helped me. They were always there for me, always made sure that I was OK, and made sure that we are doing what we need to get into college.”
The scholars received white coats from their mentors, three SMHS students and one student from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW, and shared where they would be attending college next year and their intended major.
Lozano will be attending GW – her first choice since freshman year – in the fall to study kinesiology and women’s studies. She received the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship earlier this year.
The graduating class also includes Ezechinyere Njoku who will attend Bucknell University as both a Posse and a Gates scholar. Sabrina Sanabria-Lawrence will be traveling to Bard College Berlin to study fine art and Demia Clark is currently undecided, but has 25 schools to choose from.
The scholars also received a surprise from the DC HAPP team at SMHS.
“Over the last year, we have worked with the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library to publish your posters from the community health project online,” said Jinny Jang, MA ’17, assistant director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at SMHS. “This is something that you can put on your resumes.”
The mentors will maintain contact with the scholars and have them as a resource as they begin their college experiences.
Grace Henry, EdD ’12, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and adjunct assistant professor of medicine at SMHS, had some familiar words of encouragement for the scholars about getting back up whenever they get knocked down. “Last night I took an L, but tonight I bounce back,” she said, quoting hip hop artist Big Sean. “He’s talking about resiliency and coming back from a struggle. We call you scholars for a reason.”