Skip to Content Skip to Search

Health Careers Exploration Program

Health Careers Exploration Program

The Health Careers Exploration Program (HCEP) is a partnership of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine and local high schools. The purpose of the program is to support rising seniors from surrounding community high schools who are interested in health care careers through observation; interactive seminars; problem-based learning sessions; and shadowing opportunities. 

Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine employees are an integral part of the chosen students’ learning experience by acting as supervisors and learning facilitators throughout the experience.  The goal is to enrich the students’ current approach to acquiring knowledge in career exploration endeavors, to enhance critical thinking skills, and to provide important information for educational options and career paths in medicine.

Applications for the 2020-2021 school year will be available in January 2020. For program information, contact Sonnya Nieves, program director, at  

Students must be incoming high school seniors and attend one of the following schools: 

  • Central Dauphin
  • Central Dauphin East
  • Harrisburg
  • Harrisburg Sci-Tech
  • Hershey
  • Lower Dauphin
  • Middletown
  • Steelton-Highspire

The Health Careers Exploration Program is designed to:

  • Enable students to develop career readiness beyond high school
  • Provide exposure to health science-related career options
  • Enable students to increase their level of comfort in a health care environment
  • Provide opportunities to shadow health care professionals in their work setting
  • Explore and strengthen skills and resources for health career development
  • Create a pipeline of interested students into the medical field

The Health Careers Exploration Program allows high school students the opportunity to interact with health care professionals in a real-work environment and to explore various health care professions. Students derive the following benefits from the program: 

  • Learn about job possibilities within the health care field
  • Discuss real-life issues with health care professionals
  • Experience the workplace first-hand
  • Formulate future goals for a career in health care
  • Receive mentorship that assists them in making better decisions about their futures
  • Develop networking skills within the health care system
  • Develop relationships with adults in a chosen career area
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State Children's Hospital
Penn State Cancer Institute
Penn State