Two students from Los Medanos College have been selected for the first-ever Pathways in Health Technology program.
Abigail Fenczik, and Jana Samson are among 26 students from 10 Bay Area community colleges in the immersive eight-week experience created by the nonprofit Diversity by Doing (DxD) HealthTech. LMC is the only college with more than one student selected for the program. The inaugural program brings together the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, Fogarty Innovation, and five area medical device companies to mentor students for careers in the industry.
“At Los Medanos College, we pride ourselves in providing career pathways that lead to high-skill, high-wage and high-demand careers,” said Natalie Hannum, Los Medanos College vice president of instruction. “The Pathways in Health Technology program gives our students exposure to the medical device industry, helping them establish expectations for when they join the workforce. It also connects them with potential mentors who could guide them to opportunities for great paying positions.”
Students who complete the program receive a $1,000 grant, funded by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) in collaboration with MedTech Color.
“I have been learning a lot by talking to people working in the field, including CEOs of many startup-type of companies,” said Fenczik, who is interested in a bioengineering career. She said she hopes the experience will help her as she prepares to transfer to a University of California campus or to Oregon State University.
The program includes an introduction to career opportunities within health technology, engineering showcases from participating medtech companies, and one-on-one mentorship opportunities. The program culminates with a hands-on project where students work in small groups on a clinical project with a health tech company and present their ideas.
Of the 26 students in the inaugural cohort, 85 percent are women and 42 percent are from groups that have been historically underrepresented in science and technology. DxD has built a suite of programs to increase diversity in the industry, beginning with early programs like summer seminars, mentoring programs for people in their early and mid-career, and free lectures that promote equity and inclusion in hiring, supply chain, and corporate culture.
“I’m excited to continue learning about the field of health technology and working with other community college students in my project team,” Samson said. “I’m a biology major and it’s been cool learning first-hand about how my area of study is involved in health tech.”
According to Ingrid Ellerbe, executive director of DxD HealthTech, the hope is that students bring more diverse perspectives that make medtech more equitable, accessible, and trusted.
LMC Career Services offers numerous work-based learning opportunities across all disciplines, including internships like this one. Visit losmedanos.edu/studentservices/career to learn more.