First medical career fair

For the first time in Florida A&M University history, the university hosted what is hoped to be an annual career fair targeting students looking for a job in the fields of medicine and science.

“The purpose of the event is to expose students of education, biology and pre-med to different career options,” said Latina Banks, event coordinator and pre-health adviser.

Banks said this career fair will be held at FAMU at the beginning of every fall semester.

“The original idea was a spin-off from the student and faculty orientation program that was held on Friday, Sept. 8, 2006,” Banks said.

Walking into the Grand Ballroom, the various booths were lined up and organized professionally to appeal to the students’ eyes.

“This year, we only have eight recruiters, but next year we hope to have 15, and after that, a continuing increase,” Banks said.Among some of the organizations and schools present were Sherman College, Florida State University College of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FAMU’s biology department.

Each representative offered a wide variety of course and degree programs in chiropractic care, biology and osteopathic medicine.

Aisha DeBerry, admissions coordinator and recruiter for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, wants to assist students in getting jobs in prime locations across the country. “With our 22 schools across the nation and licensed physicians, we really focus on placing our students in inner- and rural city areas for work,” DeBerry said.

Banks said a little over 80 students attended the fair this year, which was a satisfactory amount to the organizers of the event. “Most students need three options: A, B and C,” said Mackel J. Harris, director of recruitment and minority relations for Sherman College.

“Nowadays A and B isn’t enough. Look at the small percentage of African-Americans who make it in the field of medicine,” he said. “The reason is not enough exposure.”

However, most who attended the affair were thrilled at the new opportunities for their field and many others.

Sophomore pre-dentistry student Travis Roberts, 20, and junior biology student Ashley Braddy, 20, both from Fort Lauderdale, were shocked when they discovered they could become permanent or substitute teachers with a bachelor’s degree in almost any field.

“I found that very exciting to know because we students should have a back-up plan,” Braddy said.

“When I first got here as a freshman, people asked me what was my next step in life, and I didn’t know. But, with this career fair available, it helped to assist in my future career choices,” Roberts said.