Eighteen first-generation college-bound students from John Glenn and Wayne Memorial High School just completed the Operation Opportunity program. Operation Opportunity is a partnership between Michigan Medicine, Wayne-Westland Community Schools (WWCS), and Eastern Michigan University Bright Futures.
The youth mentorship program was virtual this year. However, students were still paired with mentors from Michigan Medical and learned about the variety of career paths available to them in the medical field. district officials said.
Last week the district was able to host a celebration ceremony to culminate the completion of the program. Several students shared their experiences.
Akash Patel, a senior at John Glenn High School, said, “As an immigrant from India seven years ago, I never dreamt I would have a chance to participate in a program like this.” His mentor was also an immigrant, and he learned a lot from Dr. Sara Sarberi, including the existence of racial disparities in medicine.
Jillian Downey, also a senior at John Glenn High School, said Operation Opportunity was a chance for a small group of students to meet and network with different people in the medical field and see different job paths they can pursue.
“We were able to build connections,” she said. One of her favorite moments was meeting the OB/GYN team.
Kathryn Bigelow, a senior at John Glenn High School, said, “While participating from my living room, I loved and valued this experience. I got to talk to some great doctors and got some great life lessons.”
While she enjoyed meeting with the orthopedic surgery department, she said, “My favorite was with the health information department.” She will study information systems at college in the fall.
Miguel Bonam grew up with a sick grandmother who had liver cancer. Through the eyes of an elementary student, he saw the care and compassion the medical staff showed while caring for his grandmother as her illness progressed.
“What I gained from Operation Opportunity is that I, Miguel Bonam, possess the opportunity to reach my goal to become a physician's attendant,” he said upon completion of the program.
Operation Opportunity gives students exposure to careers and professional contacts in the medical field, and so they know the possibilities that are available to them, school district officials said.