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Health Science Academy Seniors Are Ready for College

6/22/14


West Windsor, N.J. – For high school seniors Piyush Puri and Tricanne Wilson, the prospect of heading to college in the fall is not as daunting as it may be for many of their peers.

The two students are among 19 seniors graduating in June as the first class of the Health Science Academy, a program developed by Mercer County Technical Schools in partnership with Mercer County Community College (MCCC) for students interested in careers in health care and science.
 
According to Dr. Kimberly J. Schneider, Superintendent of the Mercer County Technical School (MCTS) District, Health Science Academy students may earn up to 21 college credits at MCCC by the end of their senior year.

Said Dr. Guy Generals, MCCC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, “We are very proud of this partnership and the faculty and staff from both schools who have contributed to its success. Students who took advantage of this opportunity as high school freshmen have a promising head start on careers in health and science.  Our communities will benefit as a result.”

Tricanne Wilson and Piyush Puri say they feel well prepared for college after taking classes at MCCC as part of the MCTS' Health Science Academy.

 

In addition to his high school coursework at the Assunpink Center, Health Science Academy Student Council President Piyush Puri, of East Windsor, took three levels of Calculus at MCCC, as well as Introduction to Psychology. He says that his experience at the college level was very different from high school. “In high school, the teacher is checking your homework and testing you often on your progress.  In college classes you have a lot more freedom, but that requires discipline.  You have to be self-disciplined and have good study habits.”

Puri says that there were similarities too.  As in his high school classes, he found that his Mercer professors were ready and willing to help with academics and offer advice about his future.  “I asked for extra help all the time,” Puri says, recalling Professor of Mathematics Richard Porter in particular, who was very supportive as Puri considered his college options.

Originally planning to become a doctor, Puri is now heading to Carnegie Mellon University with the goal of studying information systems with an emphasis on health care analytics.   “It’s a field that is becoming more and more important,” he says.

Puri believes his success in his MCCC classes has given him a sense of self-confidence he would not have otherwise.  Fellow student Tricanne Wilson agrees.

Wilson, who will attend Roanoke University in the fall, enrolled in the Health Science Academy instead of Trenton Central High School.  Wilson took Psychology 101 at MCCC this spring and says it was exactly the wake-up call that will prepare her for college.

“It was amazing.  My professor, Mark McGlone, was really dedicated to his students,” she said.  As part of the class, Wilson used a technology portal that helped her stay on schedule with her coursework and is the kind of tech support that is increasingly being used in college classes.

“I feel extremely prepared for college,” Wilson said.  “I am graduating with a sense of what to expect ahead.”

Eighteen of the 19 graduates will continue their education at a two-year or four-year college this fall, with one student entering the armed forces. The Class of 2014 is comprised of students from East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Lawrence, Trenton and West Windsor. 

According to Dr. Schneider, this group of seniors has taken on leadership roles that have charted a course for the growing program.  “Including the senior class, we have 93 students enrolled and we are welcoming 40 freshmen in September,” Dr. Schneider reports.

For more information on the Health Science Academy, visit www.mcts.edu.

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