Photo Courtesy of UTSA HOSA

in June, five UTSA students who form part of the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Future Health Professionals student chapter competed and excelled at the first HOSA International Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The conference provides a forum for over 57 competitive events that test students on leadership, professional and technical skills, exhibits by health organizations, associations and education symposiums by professionals.

The five students earned gold in all competitions in which they participated. Margaret Cummings participated in Physical Therapy while Suma Ganji, Melson Mesmin, Oscar Tu and Hyelin Oh participated as a team in the HOSA Bowl. A sense of relief and reward overcame the 2016 International Leadership Conference winners after winning the HOSA Bowl, one of the hardest competitions at the conference.

This competition featured a written test to determine which eight teams will move on to the question rounds.

“It was really gratifying to know that even (when) other chapters sent big delegations, and we only sent five people this year, we still won,” said junior public health major Oscar Tu.

This organization is still young at UTSA; this fall marks the start of its third year, so it is impressive how much these students have accomplished by themselves so far. In order to be able to compete in internationals, they have to be top-3 in the state and pay for food, travel expenses and fees to compete at both levels.

“It was all very difficult,” said Hyelin Oh, sophomore biology major, “even though we did fundraising, all the money had to go somewhere, and a lot of it was out-of-pocket.”

The “fantastic four” have been competing together since they attended Health Careers High School, the competition is what keeps them motivated.

“The opportunity to compete is what differentiates us from other student organizations,” said Melson Mesmin, the president of the organization.

Their plans for this semester are to recruit more people and partner with other pre-health organizations to be bigger not only in number, but also in knowledge and perspectives. They are reaching out to incoming freshmen who may have already been part of this organization but never competed to reassure them that there is no obligation to compete; being a part of the organization has many other benefits. However, they do want to start building a stronger and bigger team that is able to represent UTSA in many more categories of competition next year.

“There is an event for any pre-health major,” counseled Mesmin, “but there are also artistic events like medical photography. There is an event for everyone. You can earn accolades that distinguish you, and competition is a great way to network. You get to know people from your state, especially people from your own competition. Then you get to know other National HOSA members, and suddenly you have friends all over the country.”

Those interested in competing in an event that corresponds with a career in the medical field can learn more about HOSA on RowdyLink, on Twitter at @utsahosa or on Facebook

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