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  • Writer's pictureCollege 1st Program

Vanguard Academy Inspires Future Healthcare Professionals

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

Vanguard Academy students perform surgery during the College 1st Health Professions CAMP. Photo by Ivan Aguillon.

Alamo, TX–A Vanguard Academy student wears a mask and gloves and leans over his patient, carefully stitching together her open wound. When she finished, the neat row of sutures could be mistaken for the work of a professional, but this is the first time performing surgery. Of course, this Vanguard student is closing this wound on a skin model while participating in the College 1st Health Professions CAMP.

The Health Professions CAMP is designed to introduce students to a wide array of medical careers through interactive, project-based learning in an industry long known to be expanding. In 2016, Vanguard Academy partnered with the College 1st Program to offer students CAMPs on different fast-growing career pathways, becoming one of the few charter schools in the region to offer their students a head start in preparing for their future career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care has become the largest source of jobs in the United States. The healthcare industry has long been one of the fastest growing in the US, driven in large part by the aging of the American population. We can see this growth here in the Rio Grande Valley where the demand for healthcare professionals has been increasing considerably.

“This experience opened my eyes to new possibilities and careers for the future, so I know exactly what I can do when I grow up.” Bianca Montalvo, Vanguard Academy Student.

Vanguard Academy wants to expose students to different career opportunities and emerging technologies that have made waves in the medical field. Economic trends toward increasing automation suggests that the best prepared professionals of tomorrow will know how to interact with technology and harness its advantages.

“This CAMP will be help me make better decisions when I grow gives me insight on what I want to do and the career I would like to choose in the future.” Evan Morales, Vanguard Academy Student.

During the Health Professions CAMP, not only do students use virtual reality glasses to explore the circulatory system but also take part in similar training that medical professionals are exposed to. They use human skin models and suturing kits to perform surgery and get to experience what it’s like to be a nurse during a vitals rotation. Moreover, the students are mentored by the College 1st instructors and medical students to think of the broader effects of technology on medical professions and society by-and-large.

“I want to be successful, because I want to be able to make my parents proud and do what I Iove for the rest of my life.” Kendra Shrauger, Vanguard Academy Student.

As students reviewed the human anatomy and explore different career options they can pursue in the medical filed, the implementation of hands-on activities provided them with practical skills that medical professionals often aren’t exposed to until college. From removing cavities from teeth models to suturing simulated wounds, students got a head start on the essential skills they need to become the dentists, nurses, and doctors of tomorrow.

For more information about Vanguard Academy, please visit their website at: or call us at 956-781-1701. You can also contact the College 1st Program at

Written by Roberto Diaz & Kimberly Chacon

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