On Friday, August 5, a banquet and awards ceremony marked the end of the 2011 Washington Business Week (WBW) at Pacific Lutheran University. As in the past few years, Salal CU had several employees in attendance, participating in the camp as advisors and judges, and attending the final dinner to announce the two winners of the Salal Washington Business Week Healthcare Pathway $2,500 scholarships. Salal also provides funds for students of limited means to be able to attend the camp.
Washington Business Week is a unique opportunity for high school students to experience professional life. They choose a career path (business, healthcare, manufacturing or energy services), then spend a week exploring their field of choice and working with a group on a project to be presented at the final competition.
This year, Salal sent two Company Advisors (CAs) to work with students for the entire week of camp. CAs work closely with students, facilitating but not leading, guiding but not directing. It’s important for the students to take charge of their own experience: they must learn to work together, deal with conflicts, operate within a budget, and complete their project on time.
The business professionals who attended the camp as CAs also benefitted from the experience. Tammy Pagliaro, our Tukwila Branch Manager, participated in WBW as a CA. Tammy says of her experience, “I mentored eleven high school students. My role was to interact with the students, encourage creative and critical thinking and being involved in the activities. The students learned teamwork, leadership skills and stepping out of their comfort zones. Being a Company Advisor gave me the opportunity to share my business experiences and what I have learned over the years, and to grow, both professionally and personally.”
Gena Chriscaden, Salal Virtual Branch Manager, helped judge student presentations on the final day of WBW, and she had this to say: “It was amazing to hear these students talk about their clinic and how connected they were to each other, especially since they only spent a week together. There was passion about what they were doing and respect for each other. I would recommend everyone get involved in some way with WBW. These young adults are our future, and this organization helps them to better prepare themselves for the business world.”
At Salal, we believe that investing in the young people who are the future of healthcare is one of the best ways we can support the health of our community. The students who attend the WBW Healthcare Pathway are some of the best and brightest Washington State has to offer, and we’re thrilled to honor and encourage these young adults as they start on their career paths.
Our scholarship winners, Alan Yu and Kristina Chang, in their own words:
Where did your interest in healthcare as a career come from?
Alan: as a high school freshman, I knew I wanted to become a doctor through a combination of experiencing volunteer opportunities and health care seminars. Examples include spending a month of summer organizing patient charts, attending a healthcare workshop at UC Berkeley, and working as a student researcher at a UW prosthetics lab. Through these experiences, I was encouraged to prepare for the long and difficult path to medical school by studying hard, developing strong communication skills, and seeking opportunities to develop my understanding of the medical field.
Kristina: I knew that I wanted a career rooted in helping people that also required me to interact very closely with people. Through my volunteer work at Covenant Shores Retirement Community and working for my parents, who are both in the healthcare field, I have a very strong respect for those in the industry.
Do you know what aspect of healthcare you’re interested in pursuing?
Alan: Currently, I am aspiring to study in medical school as a dermatologist or family physician, but I will continue to study hard in my degree to learn more about the medical field and possibly explore a bioengineering career as well.
Kristina: Hospital care—I definitely see myself working in a hospital environment.
Would you recommend Washington Business Week to others?
Alan: To simply say that I enjoyed WBW would not give justice to the brilliant yet humbling experiences that I had during this week….I have taken out of WBW that communication and trust will lead to success. At the start, the minor dysfunctions of the team led to thoughts that it was going to be a very long week. However, by accommodating and supporting one another through the good, the bad, and the downright awesome (best talent show ever), we became an adhesive and unstoppable team.
Kristina: I would absolutely recommend Washington Business Week. WBW is a wonderful growing experience—and the staff, volunteers, and interns are all so committed to making it so. WBW is particularly unique in its commitment to pushing students to step and think outside of the box.
What advice do you have for younger students?
Alan: My advice is to never give up….In a high school setting, it is easy to “settle” by losing motivation by the success of others. By prioritizing goals into manageable tasks, the student will find motivation to reach the next step while building a foundation of positive growth. At the same time, taking the initiative to seek new opportunities such as WBW will improve individual knowledge and help develop success in the long term. In the end, never lose motivation when the person nearby might have the higher GPA or SAT score, but choose to improve yourself constantly and success will come.
Kristina: It is important to step out of your comfort zone and even more important, to approach each of these experiences as learning opportunities. Attitude really is everything. We are defined by how we choose to meet the unknown.