This semester City College welcomed a new mentoring program to campus. The Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program, commonly referred to as HPREP, exposes high school sophomores and juniors to science related activities. With the help of Sophie Davis student, Abiola Soyemi, and several other faculty members, CCNY now hosts one of HPREPs newest chapters.
With a goal to address the issues of declining enrollment rates of underrepresented minorities, the Weill Cornell chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) developed HPREP in 1989. The nationwide program teaches students about specific career fields and the steps needed to become a physician or other health care professional.
Soyemi, a third-year Sophie Davis student, participated in HPREP when she was a sophomore in high school and still holds a firm belief in the programs mission. “It was the first time in my life where I was in the midst of people who looked like me [a minority], and shared the same goal of becoming a health professional,” she says. Soyemi referred to the program as a means of support for minorities who desire to enter the field of medicine.
Bringing the program to City College brought many challenges for Soyemi. In fact, her initial idea to implement an HPREP chapter on campus began when she was a freshman. Her first task involved presenting her ideas to peers, the dean of Sophie Davis, and the assistant dean at Weill Cornell. She then faced the task of assessing the need for such a program that targets high school students around CCNY. Soyemi called and visited dozens of schools. She sent out formal invitations for guest speakers and gathered Sophie Davis students as mentors. “There was so much paper work involved,” said Soyemi.
Now as a junior, the program took nearly a year and six months before it became a reality. Even on the day of the opening ceremony she faced dilemmas with reservations and event planning. “The process of starting HPREP here taught me one key lesson,” said Soyemi, “Life NEVER goes as planned.” Guidance from faculty and HPREP coordinators played a large role in successfully bringing the program to CCNY. “I was surrounded by a number of incredibly supportive friends & classmates who were up for the challenge,” she said.
Soyemi’s hopes that HPREP will inspire students to remain motivated and give back to their communities. She encourages those who seek to bring other clubs and organizations to the campus to be “persistent, patient, determined, and to always have faith in your capabilities.”