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VUMC leaders show Clarksville-Montgomery County teachers how tech is used in the workplace

clarksville teacher visit

According to Forbes magazine, Nashville ranks among the top 15 cities for job creation in the technology sector, but like many other regions across the country, Music City is struggling to meet growing workforce demands. Vanderbilt University Medical Center is playing a key role in helping cultivate talent to keep a pipeline of skilled workers and leaders flowing to this thriving industry.

In fact, VUMC recently hosted five 7th – 9th grade teachers from the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System for a one-day externship to see first-hand how technology is used in the workplace. The teachers were paired with leaders in Health IT, Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA) and Medical Center Labs, including Kevin Johnson, Ally Clemans and Holly Irby respectively. 

During their time here, the teachers were able to tour some of VUMC’s research laboratories and witness, for example, how robotics are used in research. They plan to take what they learn from shadowing those leaders back to their classrooms this fall, and the hope is the teachers’ experiences will help introduce students to careers in tech.

“Dr. [Kevin] Johnson had a lot of advice regarding leadership and time management, which was much appreciated on my end. He allowed me to sit in on meetings to see the type of issues and organizational problems that the Health IT department handle, and I even witnessed a brand new app that was created in one month,” said Stefi Outlaw, a science teacher at Northeast High School’s Academy of Computer Programming and Game Development. 

“This is exactly the knowledge that I need in order to help my students understand their career field in the real world,” Boeck added. “I should never hear them complain about designing an app in a semester when I can tell them that Vanderbilt’s expectation is one month!”

The job shadowing program is part of VUMC’s commitment to education and academic excellence and was facilitated through the Nashville Technology Council, of which VUMC is a member.

“I really enjoyed the chance to meet with [Northeast High School English teacher] Rachel [Ferry] and explore some ways that the laboratory personnel uses English and communication,” said Holly Irby, Medical Laboratory Science Program director and a host for the job shadowing program. “It honestly helped us to think outside the box a little because we’re more accustomed to discussing how science classes relate to our profession. I hope that Rachel will be able to use the information in future classes.”