MxCC Student Select Internship Triggers Public Health Career Goals


August 11, 2020 (Middletown, Conn.) – Middlesex Community College (MxCC), Durham student John “Jack” Howell took part in the Summer Health Professions Education Program, known as SHPEP, an experiment nationwide academic enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources in the healthcare professions. Only 80 students from all over the country are accepted.

As part of the summer program, Howell, a liberal arts and science major, enrolled in a combined physiology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry course delivered virtually with instructors from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He learned how each scientific discipline applies to conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. Howell’s favorite activity was practically shadowing doctors.

“Through the SHPEP experience, I gained confidence in following higher level courses and valuable information on entrance exams and applications. Most importantly, this program sparked my passion for public health and reducing health disparities,” said Howell, who was accepted for transfer to UConn, Trinity College and Northeastern University. “I want to combine aspects of public health, such as health policy, with a career in medicine, especially psychiatry.”

Even though the summer program was online, he bonded with fellow students through team learning and social activities.

During Howell’s time as a Middlesex student, he was a class assistant for two semesters and taught biology, chemistry and English at the Academic Success Center for four semesters. He also helped with the Technology Showcase, an annual conference where Middlesex faculty, staff and students share ideas and tools through presentations and demonstrations.

“I formed meaningful bonds with my teachers and excelled in the small class environment. I also enjoyed my experiences in the honors program, especially the mentorship I received from teachers Eva Jones and Andrea Levy,” Howell said while noting how well Middlesex lives up to its mission to put students first. “I have enjoyed the close bonds I have forged with students through each experience.”

howell onlineThe MxCC Honors Program also allowed him to take two philosophy courses at Wesleyan University last year.

“It’s important for MxCC to encourage students like Jack to apply to specialist programs, such as SHPEP, so they can build stronger networks and get specialist training, and so our students can come back and have a positive impact on those around them. said Jones, an English teacher at Middlesex.

Levy, Professor of Psychology, added, “Jack is a model member of the MxCC community. He volunteers in many functions on campus and most importantly he has such a good heart. »

“When I started at MxCC, I had no intention of going into science or health, but [former] biology professor Cheryl Eckert’s ability to connect scientific processes to human health inspired my passion for this topic,” said Howell. Eckert wrote his letter of recommendation for the internship. Chemistry professor Kimberly Thomas encouraged him to apply.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic skills and career development of underrepresented students in the health sciences and prepare them for successful application and enrollment in health professions schools. For more information, visit

For more information on registering at Middlesex Community College, please visit Fall classes begin August 26.

Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high quality, affordable and accessible education to a diverse population, building on the strengths of individuals through diploma, certificate and lifelong learning programs that lead to transfer education, employment and an enhanced awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. Part of the Connecticut State College and University System, MxCC offers more than 70 degree or certificate programs on the 35-acre main campus in Middletown, MxCC @ Platt in Meriden, and online.


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