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HOPE Leads to a Stony Brook Match for Five LI High School Grads


HOPE Leads to a Stony Brook Match for Five LI High School Grads

The Stony Brook faculty-mentored educational program exposes students from underserved communities to careers in healthcare


Judith Berhannan, center, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, with the five high school seniors bound for Stony Brook University after completing Stony Brook’s HOPE program. From left: Sierra Gardner, Wyandanch Memorial High School; Max Stanley, Longwood High School; Jessica Rodriguez, Brentwood High School; Christine McIsaac and Brandon Yalin, also from Longwood High School. 

Stony Brook, NY, May 19, 2014 – Eighteen high school seniors from underserved communities on Long Island who completed Stony Brook’s Health Occupations Partnership for Excellence (HOPE) Program are on their way to college. Under the mentorship of Stony Brook University faculty, the two-year program fosters the academic development of 11th and 12 graders and preps them for future careers in the health industry. Five students will be attending Stony Brook University with their eyes wide opened to the burgeoning field of healthcare.

Since its inception in 2005, the HOPE program has helped open new avenues for 126 promising high school students from underserved and racially and ethnically diverse communities. During the 2013-14 academic year, more than 30 Stony Brook faculty and community members have instructed students, with educational venues that included lectures, hands-on demonstrations and shadowing professionals from multiple areas in medicine such as cardiothoracic care, surgery, and neurology; as well as in nursing, midwifery and respiratory care.

“I could not believe how much I got out of the HOPE program, and I learned that healthcare is a great opportunity to not only help people but pursue many fields,” said Sierra Gardner, a senior from Wyandanch Memorial High School. “We learned there is way more to healthcare than just doctors and nurses,” added Gardner.

Gardner became fascinated with the impact of technology on healthcare. Intrigued with biomedical engineering, she applied to several undergraduate programs. Accepted to Stony Brook, she will major in biomedical engineering when she starts this fall.

Like many of the HOPE “graduates,” Christine McIsaac, a senior from Longwood High School, who will major in either biology or psychology at Stony Brook, felt that her career interests by participating in HOPE, and that choosing a field in healthcare is certainly a leading possibility.

“Respiratory care is so interesting, and helps all kinds of patients. We also saw how much work goes into patient care at Stony Brook’s dental school and veterans’ home during our tours there. All of this has made me very interested in healthcare,” said McIsaac.

Three other HOPE graduates who selected Stony Brook University will explore fields in scientific research. Brandon Yalin, a Longwood senior, will study physics; his friend and Longwood classmate Max Stanley will also major in physics. Jessica Rodriguez, of Brentwood High School will major in biochemistry.

“Physics is perfect for me,” Yalin. “I am interested in engineering but also considering healthcare, and being at Stony Brook University and near its hospital can only be a plus for me during my college years when I need to decide.”

“It is inspiring to see each of these students talk about their experience with HOPE, the confidence they have gained, and their interest in science and healthcare,” said Judith Berhannan, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Stony Brook. “On top of all of that, some have chosen to come to Stony Brook to pursue their dreams.”

“The HOPE program is an example of Stony Brook’s commitment to the community and to reduce healthcare disparities,” said Yvonne Spreckels, Director of Community Relations at Stony Brook University Hospital. “We are excited that some of these talented young people have decided to pursue careers in healthcare and look forward to the day when they will serve their communities as healthcare professionals.”

Some of the other colleges these HOPE graduates will attend include Hofstra University, Suffolk County Community College, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Binghampton, Sacred Heart University and Clemson University.

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