A win-win partnership between Clardy Elementary School and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) has provided an opportunity for students attending each institution to learn from each other.
“Seeds of Change”, a student service organization that former PLFSOM medical student Stephanie Diebold created back in 2013, focuses on reaching out to young students in order to get them excited about science as well as a career in the science/medical field, according to one of the organization’s presidents Sandra Aziz, a second-year medical student.
Clardy students learn science from medical students and medical students gain first-hand experience about the El Paso community from Clardy students, teachers and administrators. Recently the entire fifth grade of Clardy arrived on the PLFSOM campus to participate in workshops in the laboratory, anatomy lab, and hear lectures by faculty and students. The Fifth graders also took time out of their schedule to make cards for El Paso Children’s Hospital patients.
Student mentors from DREAMS (Developing Research and Early Aspirations for Medical Scholars) Summer Camp were on hand to promote DREAMS and encourage the students to attend the month-long summer program. Aziz credited Patrick O’Malley and Chelsie Hollas, both second-year students, as well as MS1 representatives Jocelyn Antony, Daniel Lapid, and Daniel Welder for their hard work this year creating fun science lessons and activities to teach at Clardy Elementary School during their weekly visits to Clardy. Clardy’s annual visit to the campus helped them learn about healthcare career opportunities while gaining a small taste of medical school life.
“Seeds of Change has really made an impact on me in that it has given me a chance to experience, first-hand, the needs in our community as well as offered me the wonderful opportunity to reach out and have an positive impact on these young kids. As a native El Pasoan and fellow Hispanic, this organization has further inspired me to eventually practice medicine in my hometown and give back to the community that has offered me so much,” said Aziz.
Leticia Foster, principal at Clardy Elementary, said, “Clardy Elementary is extremely proud of its partnership with the Seeds of Change program. The medical students who are part of the Seeds of Change program do an amazing job engaging the Clardy Elementary fifth grade students in multiple science lessons while encouraging them to understand both the importance of their education and to continue the goal to attend and complete college,” she said.