Partnership Between TCC and UNT Health Science Center Leads to Summer Academy of Health Sciences

Over the summer, Tarrant County College Trinity River and the University of North Texas Health Science Center collaborated to launch the Summer Academy of Health Sciences.

“This collaboration allows students to investigate the different fields of health science,” said Taylor Hughlett, Ph.D., professor of geology and department chair of physical science. “The partnership allows the students to see different working facilities, get to know the faculty at each campus, and allows them to network with individuals who teach and practice in the health science fields.”

Academic leaders and science faculty members from TCC and UNTHSC worked together to provide underrepresented students with an immersive platform to explore opportunities within healthcare and science at both campuses for five weeks.

Students explored casting and splinting; compounding prescriptions; forensic anthropology and DNA experimentation; using augmented and virtual reality tools to dissect human anatomy and physiology; and drug research and development. TCC faculty members facilitated roundtable discussions on various health science topics. Additionally, the academy fostered the scholars’ introspection, leading them to discover their personal motivations and aspirations and a sense of purpose to drive them toward excellence.

“For the TCC students who participated, their active engagement underscores the importance of these initiatives in shaping the future landscape of healthcare and STEM in our region,” said S. Sean Madison, president of TCC Trinity River. “As we move forward, I believe the SAHS planning team hopes these students’ journeys will inspire others to follow suit, ensuring a diverse and skilled workforce that meets the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.”

Hughlett considers the academy a great success. “Students were asked what their favorite part of the academy was for this summer, and the majority of them stated they loved getting to hear all of the presenters and learn all of the different fields,” she said.  “They got to see themselves in those positions because the presenters had similar backgrounds to them.  Other students said they were surprised and excited by the vast majority of fields in health sciences that they were not aware of before the academy.”

Hughlett went on to speak of the effect the academy had on students’ career choices. “A couple of students stated that they were thrilled they got the opportunity to do activities and experiments within their desired field in health sciences, and that solidified their desires to continue. One student said that she went in certain of what she wanted to do in health sciences but came out of the academy with so many possibilities, that she wants to explore many fields before she decides.

Planning for the next Summer Academy of Health Sciences will be toward the end of the fall 2023 semester.