Student-led Outreach – Promoting RT to the Next Generation

 Published: July 18, 2018

By: Heather Willden


Students from Collin College at HOSA Conference
Students from Collin College demonstrate how to intubate ‘Mr. Smith’ at the HOSA annual conference in Dallas last month.

Imagine you’re back in high school at a school event, when you walk by a table where you’re asked to intubate ‘Mr. Smith’ and you happily answer “Sure!”

That was the scene at the annual HOSA International Leadership Conference in Dallas, TX last month. Second-year RT students from Collin College’s Respiratory Care Program shared their expertise with high school and early college students, along with their instructors, touring through the AARC booth.

Student Membership Benefits

Hands-on learning

For RT Student Winnie Okoro, she enjoyed watching the facial expressions of the HOSA students light up when they successfully intubated ‘Mr. Smith.’ Fellow RT students Ummay Priti and Gelyn Rosewitz concurred.

“It’s good to see them,” Priti said, referring to the HOSA students. Priti felt the hands-on experience was helpful in getting the HOSA students more interested in the RT profession.

“They’re curious about what is happening,” said Rosewitz. “They ask a lot of questions. It’s fun!”

Career inspiration

Okoro’s goal is to work in the ICU once her schooling is complete.

“I want to help people get better,” Okoro said.

Her passion for respiratory therapy is rooted in her son, who is asthmatic. Okoro, who was already working in a health care profession, wanted to learn more to help her son. This motivated her to begin pursuing respiratory therapy.

Rosewitz also found her career inspiration through a family member.

“My dad has COPD,” Rosewitz said. “I wanted to understand what’s going on with him, so I can help in the future.”

When RT Student Syeda Razzaque’s children were born, they were in the NICU for a month.

“That’s when I first saw a respiratory therapist,” Razzaque said.

Later when Razzaque was exploring career options, she remembered the respiratory therapists she met in the NICU, which inspired her to choose this field.

“I’m glad I chose respiratory therapy,” Razzaque said. “I like it a lot.”

Promoting the profession

Razzaque sees her participation in events like the HOSA conference as a great way to promote the profession.

“I like that they now know about respiratory therapy,” Razzaque said of the HOSA students visiting the booth. “It’s getting us out there.”

Students from Collin College at HOSA Conference
Students from Collin College close out the AARC booth at the annual HOSA conference.

In addition to student and faculty volunteers from Collin College, several AARC members helped at the AARC’s HOSA booth. We appreciate them taking the time to volunteer and help the AARC reach out to the community. This conference was a great chance to promote the profession and hopefully inspire future RT students.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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