ALMONT — Almont High School (AHS) students received some special guests on Friday.
Visiting the high school’s science class students were 16 members of the Wayne State University (WSU) Pathologist’s Assistant Program, including AHS alumnus Mariah Smith, a 2017 Raider graduate.
The first-year WSU students shared details about a career as a pathologist’s assistant, highlighting the two paths of the career — forensic or surgical. Approximately 250 AHS students attended the presentations throughout the day. According to Veralucia Mendes-Kramer, director of the WSU Pathologist’s Assistant (PA) Program, it’s an extremely in-demand career that’s appealing to those looking to make a difference in a medical field without the requirement of patient interaction. And there are currently “more jobs than there are PAs,” said Mendes- Kramer, adding that the average salary of the position can reach six figures yearly.
The WSU students also brought visual aids in the form of several real human organs, including a heart and a pair of lungs. While some AHS students were understandably squeamish, many others were fascinated, said AHS teacher Kristin Rohrbeck. The presentations like those offered by the WSU students “open doors (high schoolers) didn’t even know about,” she said. “The students were very engaged.”
Rohrbeck said former student Smith was “a big part” in organizing the visit to her old high school.
WSU’s Pathologist’s Assistant Program is one of only 15 such accredited PA training programs nationwide, and the 16 WSU students visiting on Friday represent WSU’s largest cohort in the history of the program.