Purpose: The Health Career Summer Academy (HCSA) is a one-week program that introduces students from underserved populations to various health careers and areas of study in health sciences. The purpose of this study was to determine whether this week-long summer academy increased characteristics of positive youth development, promoted transferrable skills, and increased interest in college and/or health sciences careers. Methods: In 2017 and 2018, seventy-three participants (mean age = 13.6) from the greater Philadelphia area completed anonymous online surveys on the first day and final day of HCSA programs at West Chester University, Arcadia University, and Rosemont College. Surveys included the Positive Youth Development Very Short Form (PYD-VSF; Geldhof et al., 2013) and parts of the Life Skills Transfer Survey (LSTS; Weiss et al., 2014). Data were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results: Factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha assessment confirmed the factor structure for the PYD-VSF (confidence, competence, character, caring, and connection), and the subscales of the LSTS (making healthy choices, appreciating diversity, getting help from others, and helping others). Statistically significant improvements (p ≤ .05) were demonstrated in the areas of making healthy choices, appreciating diversity, getting help from others, helping others, and caring. Discussion: These results suggest that the benefits of summer enrichment programs may extend beyond academics. This program positively influenced students’ behaviors related to making healthy choices, appreciating diversity, getting help from others, helping others, and caring. Summer academy programs also function as an effective tool for youth to explore potential academic and career pathways.
Smith, A. M., & Baer, D. J. (2020). Evaluating the Outcomes of a Health Career Summer Academy for Underserved Youth. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/spomed_stuwork/1