Elon Academy students take 'Career Trek' to Cone Health

Students in the Elon Academy, the university's college access and success program for academically promising high school students, spent Tuesday afternoon learning about career opportunities from local professionals. 

Some of the brightest high school students in Alamance County learned more about what could lie ahead of them in their future careers. 

Second-year students in the Elon Academy spent Tuesday afternoon at Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center as a part of the "Career Trek" program. The group toured the hospital and listened to a panel of healthcare professionals as they discussed the benefits, challenges and career opportunities in the field of medicine.  

LaVern Delaney, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Alamance Regional, urged the group of rising high school juniors to find their passion and pursue their dreams. 

"I never, ever thought I'd be in hospital administration," she told the group. "And, that's why I want you to realize you can do any and everything." 

Following a hospital tour, students had the opportunity to hear from Elon staff and members of the community at a second career panel at the Oak House. The group of speakers included Maria Papapietro, assistant director of global engagement; Harry Titus Jr., assistant director of student concerns outreach; Robert Gay, assistant director of admissions; Felicia Cenca, investigation and resolution specialist; and Phil Smith, owner of the Oak House.

Nakyrien Bradshaw, a student at River Mill Academy, said the panels gave her motivation to reach her full potential. 

"It was great to hear all of their stories and about what motivated them," she said. "It's really inspiring to see everything they've done, to hear their stories and to see how they've grown. It makes me want to see how I can grow." 

​The Elon Academy and Student Professional Development Center co-sponsored the "Career Trek" for a second consecutive year. 

The Elon Academy, part of the Center for Access and Success, is a college access and success program for academically promising high school students in Alamance County with a financial need and/or no family history of attending college. The Academy includes three consecutive summer residential experiences prior to the sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as year-round Saturday programs for students and families.

Connor Oates, a rising junior at Williams High School in Burlington, said his two years in the program have been priceless. 

"It's a big opportunity for me, I'm glad I was given this opportunity, and that's why I'm trying to make the most of it because it's a really important piece of my life right now."

The summer after high school graduation, scholars and families participate in the Elon Academy Transitions to College Program. Once on their respective college campuses, Elon Academy graduates and families are provided with continuing support through the Elon Academy College Success Program to ensure college completion.