Inspiring Professional Identity

CTL Faculty Stories: Jianmin Zhong and Loren Collins

Dr. Jianmin Zhong, Biology Department and Loren Collins, Faculty Support Coordinator
Dr. Jianmin Zhong, professor of biology, and Mr. Loren Collins, Faculty Support Coordinator for Service Learning and Career Education, joined forces to assist HSU students prepare for a career in medicine. The idea was simple. If students could gain academic credit working with community health care providers, then they would be able to have a grade on their transcript, which is required for admittance into health care graduate programs. 

What transpired, however, was much more transformative for students, Dr. Zhong and Mr. Collins, and potentially for the future of local health care industry in Humboldt County. 

All too often the pursuit of academic disciplinary knowledge is juxtaposed with industry and workforce placement. Collins and Zhong saw an opportunity for integration and transformation. They developed a program where disciplinary knowledge and authentic professional field experiences were understood through systematic reflection for the purpose of developing a sense of professional identify for participating students. This was a fundamental program goal. 

Dr. Zhong, Mr. Collins and the Academic and Career Advising Center have successfully implemented innovative teaching and learning practices within Humboldt State because it encourages individual transformation, acts as a possible model for future program development, and is responsive to the community. One of the students who recently participated is looking to return to Humboldt County after medical school as a way of giving back to the community she has come to love.