Medical professionals, leaders network with students at inaugural MSA Day

Freshman Harin Rajesh presents his final project to MSA program director and coordinator Joe Monteleone. (Credit: Medical Science Academy)

More than 150 students joined industry professionals, community leaders and district officials Wednesday to participate in Valencia High School’s inaugural “MSA Day.”

The day of celebration and networking was part of participating students’ final projects, as students spent the day dressed in business-casual attire with balloon-animal hats enjoying board games, a taco truck and other fun activities.

“VHS held a similar event last year but only freshman had the chance to participate,” Jonathan Gedalia said. “This year, all three levels of the academy were incorporated.”

Students said the experience was extremely valuable because it taught skills that are useful for the present and future. Sophomore Ryan Liljedahl shared that communicating with the multitude of industry leaders in attendance was one of the most rewarding aspects in the day.

“Not everybody’s path is the same,” Liljedahl said, “so it was very beneficial to meet older professionals who didn’t follow a standard path to success.”

Freshman started the day off in the Valencia High School gym to present their research on a specific health science career, while sophomores created PSA’s pertinent to a public health concern.

The short videos touched on serious topics such as depression, suicide and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a condition in which fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs, depriving organs of oxygen.

Juniors were tasked with a interviewing with industry leaders for a job opening at an imaginary hospital. “The whole ordeal was nerve racking,” said junior Cassie Jimenez.

“I learned a lot about my career and I’m grateful that I got to be a part of this project,” freshman Alina Zia said. “The day helped me better understand what’s going to happen in the future and how to prepare for it.”

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