Medical science camp inspires northern, inner-city Manitoba youth
8th annual Biomedical Youth Summer Camp runs this week at the University of Manitoba
A summer science camp at the University of Manitoba is showing northern and inner-city youth what it's like to work in medicine, in the hopes they'll consider careers in the field.
Sixteen indigenous high-school students from northern Manitoba, as well as about 120 children and youth from Winnipeg's inner city, are taking part in the Faculty of Medicine's Biomedical Youth Summer Camp this week.
The northern students come from a number of communities, including Thompson, Churchill, The Pas, Norway House, Pine Falls, Peguis, Nelson House, and Pelican Rapids, according to the university.
Participants get to use high-tech medical equipment to learn about blood typing, analyzing proteins, extracting DNA and more.
"It showed me a lot of things, like how they work and what they do and how they find cures. I find that really interesting," Tasha Moody, a student from Nelson House, said Wednesday.
Moody, 18, says she wants to become a nurse so she can help people in her community.
"It's something that I want to do, like go back to my hometown, go work there," she said.
The day camp, which runs from Monday to Friday, gives youth the chance to experience the medical field for free.
Program director Dr. Francis Amara said his original hope with the camp was to see participants go to medical school someday.
"I'm happy to say some of them are going to University of Manitoba and they're going to do pre-med courses, and one of the kids is actually volunteering this year," Amara said.
Peter John (P.J.) Homeniuk took part in the first Biomedical Youth Summer Camp in 2007, and he's volunteering this summer. He starts at the university this fall.
"No matter where you live, your ethnicity, you can achieve something if you just work hard for it," he said.
Homeniuk said looking back over the last eight years, he never expected that a one-year summer camp would lead him to find what he wants to do with his life.
"As a First Nation and from the North End, particularly, you're kind of looked down upon no matter what, and having this kind of opportunity to open a door and walk through it is so very lucky for someone like me," he said.