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USF Health Offers Career Symposium Saturday

Eric Younghans
USF Health
Kevin Sneed (far right), dean of the USF Health College of Pharmacy, stands with students at a White Coat Ceremony.

If you've ever thought about pursuing a career in the healthcare field, the University of South Florida would like to talk to you.

USF Health, along with national health occupation education provider HOSA, are hosting a healthcare career symposium Saturday, February 4, at the Marshall Student Center.

According to Kristen Slusser, preadmissions and outreach coordinator with USF Health Shared Student Services, they're seeking a wide array of possible targets.

"Students that we'd be targeting would be current undergraduates at USF, alumni, or current professionals - either that are working in the healthcare field that would like to earn an advanced degree, or those that are looking to change career paths," Slusser said.

Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News
WUSF 89.7 News
Nakul Batra (right), fourth year USF Morsani College of Medicine student, talks to WUSF about his career change from finance to psychiatry, while USF Health preadmissions and outreach coordinator Kristen Slusser looks on.

Nakul Batra, 32, is one of those 'career changers.'

After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he took his degree in finance and economics and first went to work in investment banking at Wells Fargo Securities before joining a Tampa private equity firm, Ballast Point Ventures.

But, all the while, he felt the pull to do something else with his life.

"What I was looking for was something with a lot more personal interaction," he said. "I was in an environment that was very intellectual, very stimulating, really exciting. But what I found that I lacked and what I wanted out of my career was a very direct, personal impact on people's lives."

So Batra shared his thoughts with his father, a psychiatrist.

"The work I was doing was very tangible, it was real, but I was so far removed from those people's lives and my dad was so involved in their lives and making their lives better, and that's what I wanted out of my career and that's why I decided to make a change," he said.

That change brought Batra to USF, where he’s in his fourth year at the Morsani College of Medicine, studying psychiatry and serving as the College’s Student Council President.

"I was amazed about how many students were actually career changers," Batra said. "There were a lot of people from different backgrounds, whether they were in a previous healthcare career or not, whether they had done research or not. We had people who were firefighters, people who had lots of business experience, IT consulting experience, very broad finance experience like myself, we had a fighter pilot join us as well."

"I think it was the attitude that USF Health had towards mentoring so many of these career changers and helping them along their way," Batra added. "I have nothing but the highest admiration for the USF Health administration and staff in that regard."

The symposium, which is free, will introduce attendees to USF Health's programs.

"We're going to start with an opening session just to discuss some of the diversity of healthcare positions, we'll have academic interest sessions which will be led by admission professionals from all of our USF Health programs," Slusser said. "They'll also have the opportunity to interact with current students through a student panel as well as a resource fair to learn about some of the opportunities to get involved once you are a student at USF Health."

The USF Health and HOSA Healthcare Symposium takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the USF Marshall Student Center. For registration information, visit health.usf.edu/well/preadmissions-outreach.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.