“Why cluck with the chickens when you can be soaring with the eagles,” Samuel Dagogo-Jack, MD, director of the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), told 150 minority high school and college students invited to campus on March 26 and 27 for the second annual Dr. M. Alfred Haynes Mentoring and Advising Students for Success (MASS) Symposium.
Dr. Dagogo-Jack, who was recently named 2015 president Medicine & Science by the American Diabetes Association, was advising the students that success in life requires aligning with others who have similar goals for success, and letting go of those who don’t.
The symposium was designed to encourage the young people to pursue careers in biomedical sciences, medicine, health professions, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, laboratory work and various types of research.
One of several speakers, Dr. Dagogo-Jack told them to align their goals with their actions, develop a strong work ethic, study hard and find a mentor.
Beyond fostering a diverse and capable biomedical and research workforce, the symposium aimed to expose students to the importance of mentors for achieving personal and professional success.
Freida Outlaw, PhD, an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Vanderbilt University, emphasized that mentors come from all walks of life. She also stressed that students have a responsibility to be good mentees, telling them to be aware of their own stereotypes and to learn from the perspectives of others.
The symposium, held in the auditorium of the UT Hamilton Eye Institute, was sponsored by the UTHSC Research Center on Health Disparities, Equity and the Exposome; Baylor College of Medicine; and the Intercultural Cancer Council. The theme was “Minority Students Standing and Delivering: Learning and Achieving.”
UTHSC students and graduates also were on hand to share their stories and offer advice and mentoring.
The high school and college students came from East High School, W.E.B. DuBois High School, Whitehaven High School, Central High School, Collierville High School, Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, Memphis Health Careers Academy, LeMoyne-Owen College, Southwest Tennessee Community College and Lane College.
On the closing day, students were given the opportunity to demonstrate leadership by giving short talks on the subject of their choice. The winners were: Aston Shepherd of W.E.B. DuBois (first place); Justin Emory and Jeshaun Powell of Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (second place); and Shanterica Reed of Memphis Health Careers Academy (third place).