Northwell Health’s Spark! Challenge: Healthcare Heroes, COVID Edition, has offered high school students an inside glimpse into health care careers each year since 2014 and this year was no different — except it was held virtually. The 2021 Spark! Challenge: Healthcare Heroes, COVID Edition, had 1,500 students from 48 schools across the tri-state area participate. The students interacted directly with Northwell team members for online educational career exploration sessions before attending a live virtual awards ceremony on April 15.
Students had the opportunity to participate in engaging, online educational sessions for 20 different healthcare career fields. One educational session, which profiled a career in Family Medicine, had students follow along with three case studies, taking patient vitals online and gaining an understanding of what goes into a strep test, as well as a COVID test. Some departments showed the proper way to put on and take off PPE.
And while fully transitioning this student event to be online, the Workforce Readiness team that hosts the Spark! Challenge saw an opportunity to make it even more impactful for students. “This year has been completely reinvented,” says Kathryn Graves, talent acquisition project manager on the Workforce Readiness team. “The word we used when planning for this year was flexibility. Whereas in the past students were limited to the one field trip they were matched to, this year students had 20 healthcare fields to choose from and learned about more than five careers each on average.”
After learning about these clinical and non-clinical professions, students chose one role to highlight, creating a poster and/or a video to celebrate the career, as well as to display what they’ve learned. Projects were then reviewed by Northwell judges and the winners were awarded a prize during the virtual awards ceremony.
During the virtual ceremony, students were able to view welcome messages from Northwell’s executive leadership, view and vote for their peers’ videos and posters, and attend a careers exhibit. This exhibit allowed students to learn about areas such as family medicine, the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, surgical careers, the Institute for Nursing, and Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation. Students even had the opportunity to meet our therapy dog Hazel over video.
After a full morning of interactive events, it was time for the highlight of the day: announcing the winners! Congratulations to the winners below and be sure to check out their amazing posters from this year’s event.
2021 Spark! Challenge Winners:
- Overall Poster Award – First Place: Valley Stream North High School
- Overall Poster Award – Second Place: John Bowne High School
- Overall Poster Award – Third Place: Hampton Bays High School
- Overall Video Award – First Place: Baldwin High School
- Overall Video Award – Second Place: Valley Stream North High School
- Overall Video Award – Third Place: William Floyd High School
- Overall Video Award – Honorable Mention: Sacred Heart Academy
- Rookie Award: East Rockaway High School
- Behind the Scene Heroes – Poster Award: Thomas A. Edison CTE High School
- Clinical & Non-Clinical Professional Heroes – Poster Award: Baldwin High School
- Frontline Heroes – NP, PA, & Family Medicine – Poster Award: Lindenhurst Sr. High School
- Frontline Heroes – Emergency Medicine – Poster Award: Thomas A. Edison CTE High School
- Employee/Facebook Favorite: Herricks High School & Kellenberg High School
- Student Favorite: Video: Tottenville High School & Poster: Lindenhurst High School