WINONA, Minn. — Most people think Ankith Arun wants to become a doctor for the money. In reality, when the 16-year-old’s grandfather died after fighting cancer, Arun found a life goal.

“That’s when I noticed I want to help people,” Arun said.

Arun is participating in Scrubs Camp on the Winona State University campus this week for the second year in row to prepare himself for college, where he plans to study to become a cardiologist.

“I feel like every time I come back, I feel more prepared for college,” Arun said Tuesday, adding that the camp has provided him with motivation to complete high school.

The camp is offered through Healthforce Minnesota and designed to introduce students to medical careers and college life, said Misun Bormann, Healthforce’s director of statewide K-16 initiatives and partnerships.

Since the camp began in 2008 in Winona as a way to connect first-generation students to college, it has grown to include 15 to 16 different camps across Minnesota. Each camp offers a different view on the healthcare field, based on specialties available in that community.

“It’’s hugely successful,” Bormann said. “It’s all about the local community pulling together.”

For WSU’s camps, Bormann said, the focus is on the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs WSU has become known for.

There are also options to learn about EMT work, mental health, research and development, and even how mindfulness and dancing are part of medicine.

Students will be exploring medicine this week through activities such artificially inseminating frog eggs, separating gluten from dough and Zumba.

“Part of Scrubs Camp is really to expose students to a wide variety of careers in health care,” Bormann said.

Allison Vander Plas, 16, has a sister is graduating from WSU with a nursing degree. But Vander Plas said she wants to focus on solving medical challenges rather than patient care. Vander Plas dreams of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon and has been using Scrubs Camp since middle school to prepare herself for college.

“It’s a new experience every time,” Vandev said.

Through the connections and experiences students like Vander Plas and Arun have gained at the camp, Bormann said, Healthforce Minnesota hopes to provide a place to create a core group of medical professionals prepared and passionate about the fields in which they’ll eventually work.

“Part of Scrubs Camp is really to expose students to a wide variety of careers in health care.” Misun Bormann, Healthforce’s director of statewide K-16 initiatives and partnerships
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