MONT ALTO, Pa. — By week’s end, 25 teenagers participating in Penn State Mont Alto’s MedCamp will have taken part in a mock surgery and held a human heart in their hands.
The seventh annual MedCamp kicked off Monday with classroom lessons for teens interested in medical careers. They started with physics, occupational therapy, nursing and disease control.
“It’s teaching me a lot. It’s giving me a good, all-around overview of the medical field,” said Hunter White, a 16-year-old from Boiling Springs, Pa.
MedCamp coordinator Renee Borromeo said the camp costs each student about $250. This year’s participants hail from Franklin, Adams and Cumberland counties in Pennsylvania and Washington County in Maryland.
Tuesday, the students will visit Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center to learn about cancer, artificial organs and medical transport helicopters. They also will travel this week to Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital, Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital, a therapeutic horseback riding center and Shenandoah University’s cadaver lab, where they can see and feel organs.
Penn State Mont Alto chemistry instructor John Bylander guided students through observations, questioning, forming a hypothesis, gathering evidence and reaching a conclusion on Monday. He developed a scenario in which young people fell ill on a field trip.
MedCamp students did interviews and determined unrefrigerated yogurt caused the sickness. Bylander mentioned the hypothetical bus driver not bringing ice packs or parking in the shade.
“Through no fault of his own, he contributed to the problem,” Bylander said.
Hunter told Bylander he is interested in medical research and drug development.
Alyssa Boock, meanwhile, started to develop an interest in occupational therapy after the morning lessons. She wants to work with children and might work toward her certified nursing assistant goals at Franklin County Career and Technology Center.
“I think it’s a really good idea to have a background in medicine,” said Alyssa, a 14-year-old who attends Chambersburg Area Senior High School.
“If you’re really interested in the medical field, (MedCamp) is a good experience,” said Megan Hoch, 14, of Biglerville, Pa.
Megan was looking forward to the trip to Hershey Medical Center.
“It’s always been my dream to be a nurse and help out little kids,” she said.
Waynesboro teenager Andrew McAllister enjoyed the lessons with iStan, a life-sized dummy controlled by computers.
“You can feel his pulse. You can ask him questions, and he can respond,” said Andrew, 15.