STEM Spotlight: HOSA


Sabrina Zhu

HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) Operations officer Jessica Zhou (11) explains club details to Nila Dharmaraj (10) and Smrithi Sambamurthy (11) on Jan. 11. The club focuses on medical events and contests.

by Rachel Ning, TALON Organizations Editor

The Health Occupations Students of America Club, better known as HOSA, aims to help students interested in healthcare explore the diverse possibilities that the medical world has to offer. The club, which is part of a larger international organization, is advised by upper school biology teacher Dr. Matthew Harley and was founded by president Alivia Li (12) and vice president Emily Zhou (12) two years ago. The club hopes to open students’ minds to the wide variety of niche parts of medicine by engaging them in activities and participating in conventions on the regional and national levels.

“The field of healthcare itself is actually so diverse and interesting it definitely merits exploration and especially in a school like Harker where many people are medically inclined, I think it’s definitely a worthwhile venture to do,” Alivia said. “There are opportunities to explore emergency medical technicians, forensic science, or pharmacology, or pathophysiology, and all these professions you’ve never even heard of or thought about to be healthcare-related.”

The club provides resources for members to help them prepare for events such as textbooks and Quizlets, which are intended to let students discover different medical fields, meet professionals and compete with one another. 

“Specifically what we’re doing is helping the students prepare for their competitive events, which range from everything to their individual events and team events,” Sasvath Ramachandran (12), HOSA’s director of operations, said. “They have exams, and they have physical components or demonstrations which students can prepare for.”

After a year online, the club has slowly been transitioning into in-person events and plans to travel nationally for different conventions.

“The state competition is at the end of March in Long Beach, where there are actual competitions, lots of networking, cool displays and booths and [information] about the healthcare industry,” Dr. Harley said. “Based on last year, our students also did well at states, and many of them moved on to nationals.”

Sasvath also feels that their year online subdued some of the club’s coordination. Back in person this year, HOSA will be able to provide their members with a fleshed-out experience. 

“I hope they get a glimpse into these competitive areas like forensic science or different career professions within health and get a glimpse into what each of those offers,” he said.

HOSA hopes that they will be able to foster new passions and explorations of unique medical hands-on experiences and potentially inspire members to carry on learning about healthcare in the future.

“If someone can begin to discover a passion they have within healthcare just from this club, that would mean everything,” Alivia said.

For more information on upcoming events and meetings, follow HOSA’s Instagram page @harkerhosa.