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Always having an interest in the medical field, I took the Exploration of Health Sciences and Medicine APEX strand in the spring of 2016 to narrow my career search. My teacher was Dr. Michael Lyons and my class met at Mercy College in Des Moines.  

The first term we focused on developing professional skills and had many guest speakers of different specialties in the medical field. The second term we worked on individual and group projects, along with engaging in different labs and seminars. Overall, I feel like I gained a lot from my APEX experience and it helped me discover what I want to do when I am older.

I realized I had an interest in speech pathology when my class went to the Veterans Hospital and met with the speech pathologists. They gave us insight on what they do, what it takes to get where they are and what they like about their jobs. We had many speakers before like radiology technicians, surgeons, nurse practitioners, etc., but none of them stood out to me. 

I liked that speech pathologists can work in school settings. I love kids, so I thought a job where I can help them learn to communicate better would be the perfect fit. From there I had the opportunity to shadow the speech pathologists from the VA. I learned that I like the specialty, just not the clinical setting. 

Currently, through School-to-Work I have an internship with the speech pathologists for with Heartland AEA serving students in Waukee Community School District and I love it. 

Not only did APEX help me figure out what I want to do, but it also gave me multiple experiences that put me ahead of other students planning to study speech pathology.