By: Kerrie Wu
From March 29 to April 1, a total of 14 MSJ students competed in the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) California Leadership Conference in Orange County, CA. Junior Nelish Ardeshna won a gold medal, and Junior Mahima Goel won a silver medal. Both Ardeshna and Goel will be going on to nationals, held in Orlando, FL in June. Juniors Srushti Shah, Vaishnavi Nandanum, and Sabal Malhan were also top ten finalists in their events.
At the HOSA conference, students from around California participated in one individual or team event of the 38 offered. Ardeshna’s event, Concepts of Healthcare, consisted of a timed test with multiple-choice and an essay question on the history, ethics, and organization of modern healthcare. Goel’s event, Extemporaneous Writing, involved writing an essay on a topic in healthcare in one hour. Other event topics ranged from Biomedical Debate to Job-Seeking Skills, with the overall conference focusing on developing knowledge and leadership skills necessary to excel in careers in healthcare.
Various workshops and activities were offered in between the competitive events to help participants develop their leadership skills and network with other students. “It was an amazing experience. We got to meet with students from all around California and represent Mission San Jose High School. The workshops and events at the conference gave us a first-hand glimpse into the medical field,” said Ardeshna. Other highlights of the conference included a scholarship basket raffle and speeches from medical professionals.
HOSA is a national student organization endorsed by the US Department of Education. Its mission is to provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience with healthcare so that they can fulfill the needs of the healthcare community in future careers. Since its foundation in 1976, the organization has reached nearly 120,000 members as of 2010.
MSJ HOSA, a new on-campus club founded this school year, helped register and organize students for the competition this year. The club plans to find more participants and expand next year. Ardeshna, MSJ HOSA President, said, “For those students who want to try out the medical career path before deciding their major, HOSA provides a hands-on approach to medicine…. We want to make sure that the other students know about the opportunities HOSA offers. We believe that with a lot of dedication and hard work, the competitors of next year will be able to bring back even more medals and awards.”