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Summer program prepares students for health and science jobs that may benefit the valley

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YAKIMA Wa. -- University leaders are teaching young students about health and science careers to prepare them for jobs in the Yakima Valley.

Heritage University and Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences have come together with the Mt. Adams School District and Yakama Nation Tribal School to create a science- focused program for middle and high school students.

Student Jayenell Lee who is attending the five-week program and she says she wants to go into the Neuro Science field and feels like this program is helping her get there.

“It teaches you the basic needs of chemical reactions and how to look at plants and animals and different creatures that live on the earth," said Lee.

The summer program pairs undergrads that are majoring in the science field with the young students to show them what the fields are like.

Co – Director for the program Mirna Ramos Diaz says this program not only helps the students learn about health and science careers, but it also helps them gain everyday skills that they can use as professionals.

“How to do the applications of colleges, what to do for doing their resume, anything that has to do with college application including interviewing, how to express themselves professionally," said Ramos Diaz.

Ramos Diaz says being able to start this program here in the Yakima can benefit the valley because many of the kids in the program live in Yakima and will be able to later give back to the community.

“If we offer these courses here in our communities both at Heritage and PNWU, by the students finding this environment that lets them be close to home, to their families, to their traditions, they will want to stay here and come back here and surf here, that is our hope,' said Ramos Diaz.

Ramos Diaz says this program helps build a pathway for underrepresented youth and many who major in health or science fields can get jobs in the valley including fisheries, ecological environment and many areas in the medical fields.

Lee says this program will definitely help her get the experience she needs for her future.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty big step in starting my future, yes,' said Lee.

According to the Universities, once the students turn 18 they will be in the position to complete a competitive application for a summer internship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

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