Pavela Bambekova, The Paisano
The young HOSA: Future Health Professionals chapter at UTSA has a history of just a few months; despite its short existence, the young group has earned numerous recognitions, setting a precedent in its development.
UTSA HOSA students competed at the State HOSA Leadership Conference in Dallas April 9-11. Though it was the chapter’s first time attending the conference, UTSA was recognized at the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 11 in front of an audience of over 3,000. The HOSA Bowl team received gold medals for its outstanding performance.
Freshmen Suma Gani, Oscar Tu, Melson Mesmin and Farhan Ahmad competed on the HOSA Bowl team.
“We were aiming for 1st place and nothing less,” said Mesmin. “We have been a team since high school, and there was no way we were going to miss out on competing again in college.”
“We faced opponents from UT Dallas, UT Austin, University of Houston and the University of St. Thomas,” said Ganji. “Some of these teams have been competing with HOSA Bowl for several years at the Post-Secondary level, but that did not stop us from trying our best.”
The HOSA Bowl competition consists of questions related to medicine, health care and the history of HOSA that teams answer. During the event, UTSA’s team outperformed their competitors, buzzing in the fastest and answering the highest number of correct questions.
“Winning 1st place is a huge recognition,” said Tu. “We are the first team in UTSA’s history that will be sent to represent the university at the National Leadership Conference. All of us who are going to nationals are honored to have accomplished this during UTSA HOSA’s first year as a chapter.”
Students from the FAME Program started UTSA HOSA in the spring of 2014. UTSA HOSA Directors Pavela Bambekova and Chirag Buch brought the organization to campus after months of planning, filling out documents, applying for non-profit organization status and networking with the national HOSA organization.
“We have been involved with HOSA since 9th grade, and we owe a large part of our professional identity formation to this organization,” said Buch, a former Texas HOSA State Secretary. “Knowing that several universities have HOSA chapters while UTSA did not have one — and realizing how much HOSA has helped when it comes to excelling in school — we knew that we had to start HOSA at UTSA.”
In the beginning of the fall semester, UTSA HOSA recruited over 40 members, most of whom were familiar with the organization through their involvement in high school.
“We were able to find, not only many interested students, but also a great and supportive sponsor, Dr. Craig Jordan who is the Senior Associate Dean for the College of Sciences,” said Buch. “We have had a great turnout this year with a lot of success, and we continue with our priority of recruiting future members to join.”
The HOSA students will compete at the national level at the end of June. In the meantime, UTSA HOSA will be fundraising the cost of attendance to the National Conference.