Valley Health Sciences Lunch and Learn 2019 17

Valley Health Sciences Lunch and Learn Showcases Current, Future Opportunities

Dozens during lunchtime on Thursday, Oct. 24, participated in Valley High School’s Health Sciences Lunch and Learn event, where students connected with different Iowa colleges and universities as well as area organizations and professionals and learned more about the health sciences industry.

Led and brainstormed by Valley counselor MacKenzie Gersdorf, instructional coaches Hannah Boese and Jim Martin, and Project-Based Learning Network (PBLN) thought partner and business liaison Justin Miller, the event was structured to highlight a particular program students have access to while at Valley, where it could lead following graduation, and what it might look like as far as postsecondary education and necessary certifications.

“We wanted to bridge the idea of ‘I’m here at high school, here’s what I can do at high school, and here are what some of my next steps could look like,'” Gersdorf said, adding how future lunch and learns will showcase different fields and programs. “We want students to see what kind of opportunities they have here and now—because potentially some of these things are what students could be doing now—which could then help lead to a different job or help pay for their education and get a job in that area.”

Representatives on Thursday included:


  • Valley CNA
  • Valley HOSA club


  • Des Moines Area Community College
  • Des Moines University
  • Drake University
  • Iowa State University
  • Mercy College of Health Sciences
  • Simpson College

Area Businesses and Organizations

  • MercyOne Health and Fitness Center
  • MercyOne Comfort Health
  • MercyOne Clive Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Select Medical Des Moines
  • Walnut Ridge Senior Residence
  • West Des Moines EMS

“Hopefully our students utilize these high school experiences to expose themselves to not only determine what they want to do, but maybe cross some things off the list for what they may not want to do either,” Miller said.

Despite this being the first lunch and learn, Thursday’s turnout was “awesome,” representatives said, noting the high level of engagement students had during their interactions and conversations.

“For this first event,” Gersdorf said, “it has totally fueled the energy needed to plan the next.”

Photos: Valley Health Sciences Lunch and Learn

Valley Health Sciences Lunch and Learn