Local students to learn from leaders in field

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Two former Carson High School students will spend the summer learning from the nation's medical elite -- the first ever chosen from a Nevada university.

"I'm so excited. I can't wait," said Stephanie Chirila, 21. "It's a great teaching hospital and they do so much research."

Chirila, a 1998 Carson High graduate, and Katie Schaefer, a 1999 graduate, were selected to serve paid internships at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for 10 weeks beginning June 3.

The pair of University of Nevada, Reno nursing students are the first to participate from a Nevada university.

Schaefer, 21, said it will be a good way to expand their experience beyond what is offered locally.

"Most of us all do our internships at hospitals around here," she said. "It will be nice to see how other hospitals work. "(The Mayo Clinic) is such a big hospital, there are things we'll see there that we'd never be able to see at a hospital in Reno."

The two were among 155 selected from about 500 applicants nationwide.

"For two of our girls to get picked is just unheard of," said Marilee Swirczek, Chirila's mother. "It's quite an amazing honor for them."

But the trip to Minnesota will not be their first cross-country adventure in pursuit of medical training.

The girls are also planning to attend a conference April 2-7 in Philadelphia along with 11 other UNR students.

"It's a great learning experience," Chirila said. "You get to network with tons of people."

Schaefer said she is most looking forward to a class offered by the Red Cross about disaster relief and health services.

She eventually plans to work in public health.

"I don't necessarily like the hospital setting too much," she said. "I want to be out in the community and doing health prevention and stuff like that."

Chirila decided she wanted to pursue nursing after watching her step-sister give birth.

"The nurses were so neat. It was so awesome," she said.

She plans to work in emergency care.

The nursing students need to raise $10,000 for the conference in April. So far, they've raised about $3,500. Send donations toward the trip to the Orvis School of Nursing/ 134. UNR College of Human and Community Resources. Reno, NV 89557.

You Can Help:

To donate to the nursing conference, send money to the Orvis School of Nursing/ 134. UNR College of Human and Community Resources. Reno, NV 89557.


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