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Learning about health science career paths (video)

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
March 5, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 5, 2013 at 9:06 p.m.

Andrew Music, right, and Rick Shelton listen to guest speaker Brandon Figirova.

PRESENTERS included:

• Michael Belt, emergency medical technician and Victoria Fire Department training chief

• Tami Brzozowski, Citizens Medical Center physiologist

• Sammie Sue Hendrix, Citizens Medical Center laboratory director

• Pauline Ridley, Citizens Medical Center X-ray technician

• Brandon Figirova, pharmacy technician

• Megan Tuttle, Gulf Bend Mental Health Center director of consumer support services

• Lisa Campbell, public health nurse

• Lynette Goldman, dental hygienist

• Stephanie Schuckenbrock, DeTar Hospital physical therapist assistant

• Chris Kallus, Victoria College respiratory therapy professor and program coordinator

• Maygon Espinoza, pharmacy technician

• Alex Lopez, Briatta Dominguez, Nikki Salinas, Damien Lopez, Victoria school district Career and Technical Education pharmacy technology students

SOURCE: COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS

CTE Certifications at VISD

Agricultural Mechanics and Metal

Architectural Design

Advanced Architectural Design

Building Maintenance Technology

Welding

Electrical Technology

Advanced Animation

Principles of IT

Practicum in Health Science

Practicum in Health Science

Computer Maintenance

Telecommunications and Networking

Auto Technician

Collision, Repair and Refinishing

Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness

Culinary Arts

Cosmetology

SOURCE: VISD

It wasn't always about taking the straight path for Dana Bigham.

After getting her bachelor's in business from the University of Texas at Austin, the graduate went on to earn her masters in hotel and restaurant management at the University of Houston but then decided to leave school and get married before finishing.

Later on, Bigham and her husband decided to move to Victoria, her mother and father's old stomping grounds, to raise a family.

And although she left school to start a family, Bigham continued to make strides toward her original career goals in Victoria.

She started at VISD in 1996 and seven years later is making upward of $65,000 a year as the district's director of child nutrition.

Bigham oversees 153 employees in her department when it's fully staffed.

"That's just to fill positions to feed our students," Bigham wrote.

The Texas Longhorn alumni shared her knowledge of health science career paths with sixth-grade students at Patti Welder Middle School on Tuesday afternoon.

Bigham's mother graduated from Patti Welder back when it was a high school in 1953.

"I want them to ask me a lot of questions," said the child nutrition director as she patiently waited for classes to change.

This was the middle school's first health science careers exposition, said Communities In Schools representative Rick Villa.

The event was coordinated by Villa and Victoria Business and Education Coalition Director Lanell Mantey and sponsored by Victoria College and VISD's Career and Technology Institute.

"VC was on campus Friday, bringing us posters to represent the different occupations," Villa said. "This is going to be a great way for students to explore careers in health and reinforce good academic behavior and attendance."

The community-led event kept sixth-grader Izic Nunez, 13, on the edge of his seat.

"I like math," Izic said. "I want to be an engineer."

Other students sat anxiously in the red plastic chairs while the volunteers completed their presentations.

CTI Director Lauri Voss said she hopes students understand that they don't have to plan their futures by the time they reach high school.

"Every one of you has a spark in you that you just need to find," Voss said. "If you enjoy what you do, you won't work a day in your life."

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