Matthew Prager, recent Smithtown High School West graduate will start his college journey at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, this fall—and with extra funds, as a result of his award winning essay submitted for St. Catherine of Siena’s Medical Staff Scholarship award.
Prager credits the $250 scholarship win to completing the hospital’s Health Care Career Exploration and Internship Program.
“I knew I wanted to work in health care, and the internship gave me that extra step ahead, especially after listening to a lecture from Jose Perez, who is a physician assistant at the hospital, ,” said Prager. “I listened to every word he said and knew at that moment I found the area I wanted to work in—I want to be a physician assistant.”
Prager was one of the 28 students that graduated from the program this spring. The Health Care Career Exploration and Internship Program initiated through a partnership with the Smithtown Industry Advisory Board to offer high school students the opportunity to earn credits while gaining hands-on experience. The program has grown to include Commack High School.
Students receive a half a health credit through participation in a 16-week lecture series in health care careers, including nursing, pharmacy, dietary and laboratory.