Taylor's HOSA Story

To say that HOSA has had a tremendous impact on my life would be an understatement. I can say, very confidently, that my life as a health professional would not be the same without this organization.
I started as a member at the Hughes-Jones Harrodsburg Area Technology Center in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. During my high school years, I served in various chapter and state offices- at the time not realizing how much they would shape me as a leader. As a state officer, I had opportunities to grow as a young leader that many of my peers did not have, such as speaking to my legislators regularly, leading state-wide conferences alongside my peers and friends, and traveling to places that I otherwise may not have seen on my own. One of the biggest impacts HOSA had on me was through the Washington Leadership Academy program for state officers. I gained public speaking skills, both independence and team work skills, and confidence in myself as a health professional. At the same time, I was learning to network with others and build friendships that span the whole country. WLA is certainly one of the HOSA memories that I will appreciate forever.   
Upon graduating high school, I enrolled at the University of Louisville and intended to study pre-dentistry. As my second semester started, I was hired by the Office of Health Promotion on campus. Through the connections I made in the office, I ended up finding a professor that wanted to help me start the UofL HOSA chapter!
While at the Health Promotion Office, I shared with my supervisor that I wasn’t sure that pre-dentistry was exactly what I wanted to be studying. We talked about HOSA and explored some of the other opportunities for careers together, and I realized that Public Health Education sounded like something I would love. My mother (and former HOSA Advisor) had mentioned to me that HOSA partnered with the Office of the Surgeon General for an internship program during the summer, so I figured that I may as well apply for it. It seemed like a long shot at the time, but looking back now I realize that it definitely was meant to be! During my week with the OSG, my love for public health was cemented. 
As I prepared for my sophomore year at UofL, I officially switched my major to Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Public Health Education. One of my requirements was to complete an internship relating to my field of study, and I ended up working with the AHEC (Area Health Education Center) that covers my hometown. I remembered from high school that they organized and held the area’s Health Occupations Today Expo, which our HOSA club took a trip to every year. While completing my internship with the Southern Kentucky AHEC I realized that they do so much more than I ever would have guessed. I got a small taste of life as a public health educator and fell in love.
Upon graduation in December 2015, I was hired by the very same AHEC office to be a full-time program associate. I have just hit the two-month mark with AHEC and I could not be happier. I look forward to going to work each day and improving the health of Kentucky in whatever ways I can.
I am immensely thankful for HOSA and the opportunities that it has presented me with over the years. HOSA has played such a major role in molding me as both a health professional and a leader, and I cannot wait to see it do the same for the next generation of students.
Taylor Readnower, HOSA Alumni