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Cultivating the Next Generation of Healthcare Professionals in Lewis County

For youth attending Lewis County Pathways in Health Sciences Event: Grow Your Future!, finding opportunities for fulfilling, in-demand careers close to home was as simple as visiting the next booth. On April 27th, 2023, the Southwest Washington AHEC welcomed 9th-12th grade students to Centralia College to learn more about healthcare education and career opportunities in Lewis County. Attendees had the opportunity to network, interact with, and ask career questions of 25 subject matter experts from different healthcare fields. Additionally, 17 subject matter experts provided vendor tables, and 11 organizations offered resource tables.


A smiling woman sits at a table with healthcare career information


Among the most popular offerings were the panel discussions moderated by Lorie Thompson from the Capital STEM Alliance. Attendees noted the panelist’s humor and expertise as they discussed their careers with an excited and highly participatory crowd. These discussions included:


A woman sits at a Department of Health table talking about healthcare careers and raising her hands

Another highly rated feature was the interactive demos. Jenny Bauska, Director of Nursing, and her students at Centralia College provided a Nursing Lab, where attendees spent an average of 20 minutes each working with an interactive mannequin and phlebotomy arm to try out some of the essential skills that they would use in a nursing career. Riverside Fire Authority Chehalis brought out their ambulance and offered tours while answering questions about EMT career pathways.


Many people browse and network around colorful booths describing healthcare careers

It was such a great experience working with Centralia College in putting the “Grow Your Future” event together. The staff and student volunteers were so excited and generous with their personal time. That excitement was really passed along in their participation and allowed student attendees (9th-12th grade) an interactive experience where they could learn about a variety of health sciences careers in a very fun and engaging way. We could not have done it without them!

-Pat Lange, Health Education Manager and AHEC Director


A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Prizes for the Lewis County Pathways in Health Sciences Event: Grow Your Future! were provided by:


A purple graphic lists the logos of the sponsoring organizations for the grow your future event

About the Southwest Washington AHEC

The Southwest Washington AHEC was funded by HRSA in 2022 to provide innovation and leadership to ensure quality healthcare and health workforce education access to diverse rural and urban underserved communities. This AHEC, along with three other regional AHECs in Washington State, works with the Washington State AHEC and National AHEC organizations to accomplish these goals. The Southwest Washington AHEC offers four programs:

  • Career Pipeline Events

  • Rural Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP)

  • AHEC Scholars

  • Continuing Education (CE)

You can learn more about these programs and the Southwest Washington AHEC on our website.

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