By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9
Oklahoma's future doctors are getting a jump start on their medical education -- starting with Chemistry.
"In this lab we're trying to find the molar volume of hydrogen, and we have to take copper, magnesium, hydrochloric acid and we put them all together to see how they react with each other," Lashay Hodge said.
But what they learn during the experiments they're conducting is far beyond just what's creating the chemical reaction.
"In studying the lungs, we have to understand air, how gasses travel through the lungs and the pressures that are created in the lungs," Jennie Croslin said. "And, so by understanding the fundamental theories of gases, they can apply that to lung function."
At the Francis Tuttle Technology Center there's a new Biosciences and Medicine Academy. The pilot program is aimed at improving Oklahoma's grim statistics, ranking the state 50th in the nation when it comes to the number of primary health care physicians per 100,000 residents.
"Our students are getting into pre-med programs at the college level and they're not ready for those programs, so they're dropping out," Croslin said.
Officials estimate the bioscience sector will drive Oklahoma's economy, creating new jobs in the region over the next 10 years. The goal of this Academy is to prepare these students for rigorous University programs. And already, in its first year, these aspiring doctors said it's helping.
"Smaller class sizes, great teachers," Cameron Steele said. "I learn a lot more in this place, and the curriculum is great."
The 16 and 17-year-old students working in the classroom lab now will end up working on the health of Oklahomans to come.