High School Biomedical Science students gain hands-on experience volunteering at local COVID-19 vaccination clinic

February 20, 2021 (BURRILLVILLE) Biomedical students from Burrillville High School (BHS) boosted COVID-19 vaccination support while learning valuable life and career skills on Saturday. These six students assisted the COVID-19 vaccination efforts happening at Burrillville Middle School, helping with registration, transportation, scheduling follow up appointments,  and sanitization. They also job-shadowed staff as they drew vaccinations from vials and disposed of supplies.

“We covered COVID-19 through our curriculum, so when this opportunity for our students to get involved with community vaccination, I knew this was a once in a lifetime chance to get them excited about the medical pathway,” said Gennaro Ferraro, their biomedical teacher at BHS. “Videos, diagrams, and articles are great, but when you see it in action that’s when it comes to life.”

Ferraro found this work-based learning opportunity for his students by networking and staying connected within the Burrillville community. Through their Project Lead the Way (PLTW) coursework, students learned about the COVID-19 strain, the science behind the vaccine development and its trials. Helping at the vaccine clinic brought their education full circle.

Gennaro continued: “I knew they were engaged when I saw half excitement and half fear in their eyes while volunteering because in that moment, they knew it was real. It was amazing to see.”

“When I volunteered at the vaccination clinic I got to be a part of and experience COVID-19,” said BHS senior Bailey Schiffman, a Biomedical Pathway student. “I assisted professionals in any way I could, and also got to speak with doctors from UMass and nurses who work in COVID units.”

As someone who wants to be a pediatric nurse, this opportunity gave Schiffman a unique opportunity to learn about the medical field in a hands-on way from doctors and nurses working in the field every day. For the next six weeks, Schiffman and other BHS students will continue with this real-world education by continuing to  volunteer at the Saturday vaccination clinics at Burrillville Middle School.

Burrillville High School’s Biomedical Science Pathway is one of the high school’s Career and Technical Education programs, open to all students in Rhode Island. These programs combine a top-tier high school education with deep dives into career and technical fields that perfectly match students’ interests. Pathways in Biomedical Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Construction Management, Law and Public Safety, Education, and Graphic Communication are goal-oriented, and students work with professionals who are leaders in their fields. Students take on challenges in the subject area of their choice that give them valuable experience, turning them into learners and problem solvers, all while earning college credit and professional certifications.