It wasn’t long into Principles of Biomedical Science at Westerville Central High School (WCHS) when Kendel Seabury knew she was all in on the district’s health pathway program.
She was fascinated by lessons on how the body works and considered applying her interest in science to becoming a teacher. But the more classes she took — including Diana Arko’s Medical Interventions course — the more she realized that nursing better aligned with her interests in health care and working with people.
“The classes are really great because they set you up for success when it comes to looking at other jobs you can do in the health programs,” Seabury said.
By the time she graduated from WCHS last spring, she had completed her Project Lead the Way Biomedical classes as well as five College Credit Plus courses at Columbus State Community College needed for the clinical lab assistant certificate. She worked eight hours a week at Nationwide Children’s Hospital supporting clinical lab assistants; by earning the certificate, she could vie for a clinical lab assistant job at higher pay.
She came to Columbus State this fall with 35 college credits as a result of CCP and Advanced Placement exam scores. With scholarships, including the Future Scientists of Ohio Scholarship which covers her tuition, she is attending college debt-free.
“Kendel is truly a wonderfully gifted student, and an asset to the Future Scientists of Ohio Scholars program at Columbus State,” said Laura Shady, program coordinator of the FSO scholars program at Columbus State. “Kendel is one of many talented and intelligent students who make CSCC their top choice to begin a 4-year degree path, which is a testament to CSCC’s commitment to student success while providing a strong foundation for students as they transfer to a 4-year institution.”
In addition to covering the full tuition at Columbus State, the scholarship, if families reapply, can also cover 50% of tuition costs at an Ohio public college or university for students continuing their studies in science, technology, engineering, math or medicine.
Seabury credits the health pathway program and Arko for helping her identify what to do in college and how to spend the least amount of money doing it.
“Mrs. Arko really cares where you go post grad and tries to set you up for success,” she said. “She really pushes us to do something that gives us options and then she helps us pursue our options.”
Through Arko, Seabury discovered science camps and worksite-based career education programs such as Exploring, which is linked to Boy Scouts of America.
Through the program, she visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital to learn about different health science careers and met with human resources to inquire about entry-level jobs. The conversation led Seabury to landing a job in one of the hospital’s clinical labs while in high school. And by spending time in the hospital, Seabury found an area she’d like to return to as a nurse: the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
As a teacher in the heath pathway, Arko said she feels so fortunate that she gets to see students find their passion and potential careers as teenagers. Seabury’s enthusiasm for the biomedical/health sciences has never waned over the four years at WCHS.
“If anything, she was reinvigorated by each lab experience and case study she was presented with,” she said.
Seabury left high school with a seamless transition to working toward her degree in nursing, armed with more than 1,000 hours of practical knowledge and lab skills, Arko said.
“Kendel is an amazing ambassador for all the Westerville health pathways has to offer,” she said. “We were lucky to have her for four years as a part of our program and have no doubt she will make an amazing nurse.”
For Seabury, the future is filled with options.
She is positioned to earn her Associate of Science degree in a year and is considering applying to Ohio State University’s nursing program now for admittance into the program fall 2021. She is also looking at becoming a patient care assistant in addition to her studies.
“Westerville City Schools set us up so well for success and I wish everyone in the district knew the options and opportunities we got,” she said. “You don't get this everywhere.”