WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury is offering a two-weeklong shadowing program for young students interested in joining the healthcare industry.

Middle and high school students are being exposed to all different parts of the medical industry. Students have had the opportunity to join doctors in nurses during panel discussions, visit childcare centers and learn how to stop a patient’s bleed.

“My mom went to medical school and dad works at a hospital, and I just found the whole thing incredible and it seemed like a great thing to further my journey in a career I’m considering,” said Zaria Lucas, an 8th grade student at Brass City Charter School.

According to the association of American medical colleges, only 5% of medical students are African American or Hispanic. The shadowing program aims to expose students of all backgrounds to the career possibilities that exist in medicine.

Students also had the opportunity to attend a mock behavioral health session where they learned how to treat someone suffering from a mental health crisis.

For these students, the program is a step in the right direction, a chance to find purpose and for some a path to fulfill their dreams.