NAMRU-SA Public Affairs: Tell us about your experience at the Joel C. Harris Academy Career Day?
Hoyle: “It was an amazing experience and opportunity to bring a view of Navy Medicine to such a richly diverse group of youth. The students were enthusiastic and engaged, and the teachers and school administration were welcoming. I spoke with about 150 students spread out across the five classes. Each session continued to grow in the number of students with my last talk having 50 students in attendance. It seems that word of mouth spread and more students wanted to meet the Navy dentist.”
NAMRU-SA Public Affairs: What did you present to the Joel C. Harris Academy students to pique their interests?
Hoyle: “A career day is still a great way to inspire and broaden students’ perspective about their future. I was armed with a full program that included a hands-on project with photos of dental and maxillofacial injuries and disease.”
NAMRU-SA Public Affairs: What did you show the students in the hands-on project?
Hoyle: “I demonstrated the casting of a dental mold with silicone pressure material and they had a great time with the molds. They could directly relate that to an experience at the dentist but now had a better understanding of the material science. Plus, it was fun to make.
I also showed slides from a recent deployment, photos of life on a Navy ship, a few videos, and a video telling the recovery story of the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter who had been wounded by an exploding grenade while protecting a fellow Marine in Afghanistan. I shared my personal connection to the story because I was part of the maxillofacial medical team at Walter Reed that helped rebuild his teeth after facial trauma.”
NAMRU-SA Public Affairs: How did the students respond to Cpl. Carpenter’s recovery story and your role as a member of his medical team?
Hoyle: “The students were so moved by his story and wanted to know more about how they could make a difference in military service, healthcare and research careers, and humanitarian service. We discussed what it takes to contribute in positive ways—hard work, dedication, passion, focus — and how the students might be able to work toward that in healthcare and military settings. I had several students approach me after class and tell me, ‘I want to be a dentist ‘or ‘I want to be a Marine’. From that, and the many smiles and thank-you’s I received, I hope we made a difference in their lives and introduced them to Navy Medicine as a possible career path.”
NAMRU-SA Public Affairs: Why are career days and other student engagement events important for NAMRU-SA’s participation?
Hoyle: “I believe NAMUR-SA, as a part of Navy Medicine, shares a responsibility with other organizations in the community to support the academic and career development of the rising generation. It is our opportunity to inspire our youth, to invite them to develop their skills and talents and to dream big. And by exposing our youth to careers in Navy Medicine, Navy Medicine wins, too. In the long run, we find the best talent among diverse groups and attract that talent to join us to help meet our mission to provide world class care, anytime, anywhere for our Marines and Sailors.”