While most Americans associate Valentine’s Day with images of stylized hearts, Cupid, chocolates and romance, the Dumke College of Health Professions decided to go a different route.

On Feb. 14, the Shepherd Union Ballroom bustled with activity as Dumke College faculty and staff and Weber State students met to socialize.

Instead of talking about love and physical attraction, the various booths and exhibits focused on the biological functions of the human body and the jobs associated with health care. Faculty were able to share their love for Weber’s allied health programs and invited curious students to apply to the college’s programs.

The Dumke College of Health Professions offers programs in athletic training, dental hygiene, emergency healthcare, health administrative services, health sciences, medical laboratory sciences, nursing, radiologic sciences and respiratory therapy.

Despite their competitive application processes, both nursing and radiologic sciences produce some of the largest graduating classes each year, compared to other on-campus programs.

Eric Neff, the director of admissions for the Dumke College, wants to help students navigate the various educational and career choices they face.

“There are so many options on campus,” Neff said. “I think a lot of students get themselves pigeonholed into an idea of ‘oh, this is what I am going to become.’ Many come to an event like this and they did not even know (these options) existed. Now, they know, and they become aware.”

Neff believes student knowledge about the various health professions options and the variety of programs helps students choose the best program for their life and career goals.

“We want our students to make the best decision for them,” Neff said.

Neff also explained that students who wish to go into allied health should consider Weber State before other schools such as Stevens-Henager College or Nightingale College.

“Not to knock those other schools, but it is all about accreditation,” Neff said. “We are a regionally-accredited school, the same as the University of Utah, BYU and Utah State. At the end of the day, once you get your degree, you can sit for licensing tests for what you have trained to be. You are also going to be one of the best-trained.”

According to Kenzie Tuck, who works in the Dumke College dean’s office as an administrative specialist, the college had originally booked the ballrooms for a lecture series. However, the dean and the office staff floated the idea of hosting a bigger event to involve the whole college on Valentine’s Day.

“We were really hoping to get students involved,” Tuck said. “We also wanted all the departments to showcase what they had to offer.”

Tuck and her fellow event organizers expressed their satisfaction, and even surprise, with the number of students who attended the event, considering the date was the start to a three-day weekend.

The dean of the College of Health Professions, Yasmen Simonian, took time to walk to each exhibit to interact with both faculty members and students.

“It is very important to educate everyone, not just students, but also faculty and staff in what we do,” Simonian said. “For example, over here, they are teaching how to respond to a drug overdose. We wanted to do something that was practical and fun.”

She also explained the event’s importance as a recruiting tool.

“Everybody knows about nursing,” she said. “We also wanted to showcase our other great programs.”

Simonian expressed her pride for the College of Health Professions.

“Everybody likes to hire our (graduates),” she said. “It is a big deal for us. We also have awesome faculty and staff. We change our curriculum according to the needs of the community. We are out there, for them.”

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