Written by Kristen Ammay – Sr. Recruiter
I’ve worked in different aspects of the healthcare field for over a decade now. Before starting on my current career path as a recruiter at Mix Talent, I was a pharmacist at large IDNs and post-acute clinics. And before that, I was a kid in rural North Carolina whose mom was an emergency room nurse.
Thanks to my mom, I was familiar enough with healthcare that I felt confident pursuing a career in it and spent my undergrad studying neuroscience; but, I wasn’t sure what to do with that degree after I graduated. Luckily, I met a friend of a friend who was a pharmacist. They introduced me to the career, showed me how it fit nicely with my background, and got me interested in the path to clinical pharmacy.
Recently I was reminded of my own experiences because I was lucky enough to volunteer at the 2022 STEM Goes Red event put on by the American Heart Association (AHA) at the PAST Foundation. This event introduces a group of 100+ girls in grades 6-8 to women who are leading the way in STEM careers – including the event’s emcee, 10TV Chief Meteorologist Ashlee Baracy – and shows the girls that they are capable of doing the same. All while connecting the lessons to heart health, of course.
Mix was a proud sponsor of the event (logo on the back of the t-shirt and everything) and I was thrilled to help facilitate the girls between breakout sessions, answer questions and provide guidance if they needed any.
The girls spent most of the day between four activities, each themed around a different area of STEM:
S – In the most heart-centric activity, the girls explored the electrophysiology of the heart and learned about pacemakers and how they’re implanted. Things got really scientific when the girls got to look at and touch a real pig heart. They thought it was gross, but fascinating.
T – Working with HTML and CSS languages, the girls got to edit and try new ideas with code to see how they can build websites in real time.
E – In classic engineering style, the girls built bridges using only toothpicks and gumdrops. Their constructions were then tested to see how many weights they could support. The bridge that lasted the longest held over 30 of them!
M – Playing a game of financial jeopardy gave real-world contexts to financial situations. This was a favorite of the girls and, after assigning them a bank account, had them figuring out how much money they could spend or save, and solving questions about lending and credit.
As the girls participated in the themed sessions and interacted with the professionals, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how my mother’s career introduced me to my own path. I also thought of how, thanks to her emergency room stories, the pig heart didn’t gross me out at all.
However, seeing the girls try, enjoy, and succeed at the different activities made me wonder – if I had been exposed to more paths like this, if I had known so many paths existed, which one would I have taken?
That’s the point of events like STEM Goes Red, of course. While the AHA does an excellent job connecting the activities to health and wellness – and heart disease is a leading cause of death in women – the goal is to show girls both what paths are out there and that they can take any of them.
I got into pharmacy because someone showed me I could. But after a point, I felt my options had become too limited and started to look for new opportunities. After finding Mix, I was able to see that the paths I could take, and the room I could have to grow, were unlimited.
Mix helped me realize my options and potential, and now I get to work with a variety of medical professionals, hiring managers, placing Medical Science Liaisons, and learning more than I expected about the full hiring process and how to stand out. Just like those 100+ girls at STEM Goes Red, this new path is something I might have never known I could do unless I was shown it was an option.
At Mix Talent, you don’t have to touch any pig hearts, but you can find a new career path – the right one – just by reaching out. It’s much easier to find your potential when someone helps show you what you can do, and helping you reach your potential is one of the things that Mix does best.