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Summer Program Influences High School Students to Join BHC

September 1, 2012

In 2010, the Behavioral Health Counseling Department began hosting an annual Summer Academy program for high school students considering careers in behavioral healthcare. This summer, 31 students traveled from the tri-state area, as well as from South Carolina, Texas, and Florida, to come to Drexel’s campus and attend the program.

During the course of the week-long academies, students learned counseling skills, interacted with guest speakers and visited the Horizon House and Gaudenzia treatment facilities. The students consistently remarked that the counseling simulation experience in particular was beneficial to them in deciding whether or not to pursue a career in behavioral healthcare. In the simulation lab, the high school students were videotaped while conducting a mock therapy session with actors pretending to be patients. One student remarked, “I loved the simulation lab because it was a good experience and not a lot of people get to do that and receive feedback.” Each student received a DVD of their counseling session to take home.

On the last day of the Summer Academy Program, the students listened to a keynote address by Dr. Arthur Evans, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Services Commissioner.

To accommodate for the increasing demand for these Summer Academy sessions, the Behavioral Health Counseling Department plans to hold four of the week-long academies in Summer 2013.

Angela Macao, a recent graduate of Pennsauken High School in New Jersey, attended the Behavioral Health Counseling Department’s Summer Academy in 2011 and has decided to attend the undergraduate program as a result of her positive Summer Academy experience. She will enter the Behavioral Health Counseling Program as a freshman this fall and looks forward to coming to Drexel.

“I was always the friend everyone went to talk to about their problems and I was a good listener,” Angela said. After seeing a poster for the Behavioral Health Counseling Summer Academy in her high school’s counseling center, Angela decided that attending the week-long program would be an excellent first step in exploring the field of behavioral health services. Angela said, “I saw it as a trial and error experience. I would either find I didn’t want to do this or I would find out it was right for me.”

Angela said that she decided to come to Drexel University for the Behavioral Health Counseling Program not only because of her Summer Academy experience, but also because of the opportunity she will have here to complete a co-op that is tailored to her specific interests and career goals. “You really get to go out there and experience what you want to do,” Angela said. She went on to say that she feels that she will be one step ahead of students from other programs when she graduates. Angela specifically wants to enter the Creative Arts Therapies field.