Born to Care

Medical Reserve Corps Partnership Team and Senior Place at HOSA State Conference


Photo courtesy of Shannon McPherson

The Medical Reserves Corp Partnership team poses as they win fourth place at the state conference in Galveston. Junior Claudia Shen said that even though her team didn’t place, she still benefited from learning about the medical field along the way. “We were confident that we would get top five, so we were excited even though we didn’t place because our hard work paid off,” Shen said.

Rachana Kommineni, Reporter

The competitor didn’t have time to think about how her exam went, due to her busy schedule. After all, she was the one running it as the president of all Health Occupations Students of America chapters in the state. 

From April 19-22, the Medical Reserve Corps Partnership team, which is a part of HOSA, went to compete in a state conference in Galveston and won fourth while senior and president of Texas HOSA Aashna Ravi competed in both Home Health Aid and Organizational Leadership, advancing in the latter. The competition involved HOSA members collaborating with the Williamson County MRC, a group of volunteers that are part of a national network of MRCs who serve to benefit the community’s public health and emergency preparedness.  At state, they presented a portfolio of their service projects with the MRCs to two judges. 

“This gave me opportunities to learn new things in the health science field and be able to explore other things related to the field, so that’s what made it a conference instead of just a competition,” junior Claudia Shen said. 

Junior Ryan Liu was the team leader for the MRC Partnership team and was in charge of brainstorming community service ideas, coordinating the projects, and guiding volunteers to participate. They worked on projects ranging from making first aid kits for visually impaired students to making a COVID-19 prevention presentation for fifth graders. Liu joined MRC Partnership in his sophomore year at the height of the pandemic. 

“I was really looking for an opportunity that would allow me to directly serve our community at such a critical time,” Liu said. “After seeing the potential of MRC Partnership, I talked with my amazing advisor, Doc McPherson, and recruited a group of talented volunteers. From there, we collaborated on numerous projects and made a huge difference in the public health and emergency preparedness of our community.”

The MRC Partnership competition involves doing service projects in the medical field area, and each year they have a main service project. This year, it was creating first aid kits for visually impaired students in the district. 

“I am aiming to be in a medical field later on, so being in HOSA was a cool way to find community and be able to participate in these kinds of competitions,” Shen said. “It lets me be able to expand my view of what the field would be like and be able to expand my knowledge and prepare me for the medical field profession.”

Shen’s mom is a nurse, which influenced Shen’s decision to be a nurse. According to Shen, she likes being able to care for people, even though it is difficult to be in the medical field. 

“I love the idea of being able to care for others and help them,” Shen said. “Since my mom is a nurse, I’ve seen how she has been able to help others and change their lives, and I want to be a part of that change as well.”

In the portfolios, they calculated the total amount of service hours and gave a brief description of each one. Each person talked about one service hour, and they had a limit of three minutes to present, and two minutes for judges to ask questions.

“We were one shot from internationals,” Shen said. “Even though we got fourth place, it was fun to compete and get on stage. I am also excited for my fellow MRC Partnership members to lead the HOSA chapter next year. They did really well in MRC Partnership by being able to lead some of the teammates and making sure we stay on track, so I think our HOSA is definitely in good hands with leadership.”

According to senior Harshini Addepalle, who competed with the rest of the MRC Partnership team, she felt nervous because she had to memorize her speech, and didn’t want to mess up and have points taken off.

“Being in front of the judges is kind of intimidating, so that’s what I was mostly nervous about,” Addepalle said. “We were timed and there were six of us, so each of us had to rush to ensure that each of our pieces was being said within the time limit, so I felt like that was a big stressor.”

Liu is planning to compete in MRC Partnership next year because he said he wants to continue his work in public health and emergency preparedness. According to Liu, it is an important field that has increased in significance with the pandemic. 

“Not only does working [with] MRC help our community be better prepared for emergencies and strengthen our public health infrastructure, but it also fulfills us [in] knowing we made a difference in the community that we live in,” Liu said. “I also want to compete in MRC Partnership next year because I want to continue having the wonderful experiences that my team and I had in San Antonio and Galveston this year competing in HOSA.”

The MRC Partnership Team weren’t the only competitors at state, however. Ravi competed in Home Health Aid, a competition testing for knowledge of in-home patient care, and Organizational Leadership, which allows her to become a voting delegate at the International Conference and vote on the upcoming officers for the International Executive Council. Ravi, as the Texas HOSA president, ran the conference which consisted of giving a speech at the opening session with an audience of 4000 people and doing announcements, business sessions and the closing ceremony. She also ran events between socials, did fundraising and mingled with others to see if they had a good time. Ravi didn’t advance in Home Health Aid but did advance in Organizational Leadership, meaning that she will go to Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee, from May 21-26.

I was excited to advance because it meant I got to go to Nashville and see all the people I met this year again, and it would be a nice ending to my four-year HOSA journey,” Ravi said. “I was honestly both busy but excited because I knew that the test would be similar to the Officer exams I had taken the previous two years. Although it was a very long and exhausting process, it was fun to get to see my fellow MRC members giving it their all and enjoying the experience.”