SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Creating the next generation of medical professionals starts with hands-on training.

LSU Health Shreveport is offering a program to help students choose their career paths. They are this week’s Standout Students.

High school students gain interactive experience through the AHEAD program at the School of Allied Health Professionals.

“I think we put a lot of pressure on kids. What are you going to be when you grow up? That’s hard to know the answer to if you haven’t been exposed to some of those things,” said Madeline Barclay, Director of Admissions.

The program exposes students to various medical fields.

“So learning about the different career fields that I’ve never heard of and actually interested in,” said Lauren Hall, student.

Including public health, occupational, physical, and respiratory therapy. This week students got a glimpse into speech pathology.

“It gives you a new perspective or outlook on life because they are ways we can help people who are nonverbal or have trouble speaking,” said Camilia Adger, student.

Also learning about anatomy inside the cadaver lab.

“It’s a really wow moment but it’s really cool be able to hold and feel a real brain and real hearts. Just getting to see how the body is when it is dissected. It helped me realize I want to go further in my medical experience,” said Maddie Joyner, student.

The students also got to hear advice about avoiding burnout and taking care of yourself while caring for others.

“There is a time for work but there is the time for you. So you need to know how to balance that so you don’t burnout and you’re still doing your all,” said Madison Smith, student.

Barclay said it’s also about self discovery by allowing students to see if the jobs are for them.

“Do I really want to do this or I want to do something else? Being able to learn about different professions and learn how to do things like intubate people and look at the anatomy of the human body, and everything like that has really helped me in this program,” said Kiara, student.

The program lets the students realize the role they can have goes beyond medicine.

“The most memorable thing I’ve learned this week is just the stories the people are telling us and how they’ve impacted other people’s lives, and just how meaningful their jobs mean to them and the people they take care of and their families,” said Lana Intrchoodech, student.

50 students are taking part in the free program.