Katya Vakshteyn was a 2014 graduate of Blue Valley High School and attended CAPS during the 2013-2014 school year. She took Foundations of Medicine I and Foundations of Medicine Research and Innovation. Katya is currently a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) candidate at South Dakota State University.
Here are Katya’s reflections about her time at CAPS:
Did your CAPS experiences help you understand what you wanted to pursue in college and where you wanted to go?
My experience at CAPS really opened my eyes to the possibilities available in the healthcare field. Coming into my senior year of high school, I had a vague idea that I wanted to pursue pharmacy, but after taking the two Foundations of Medicine classes I was really able to dive into what pharmacy was all about and decide to pursue it as my passion. Many of the friends that I met in college came in very unsure of what they wanted to do and switched majors several times. On the other hand, I already had a clear vision of what I wanted because of my CAPS experience in different healthcare fields. I think that CAPS helps you take a step into your possible future by helping you really know what it is like working in a particular field. That can either inspire you even more to follow your dream, or help you realize that maybe you want something different. In the end, it helps you decide what you are looking for in a career and it saves you a lot of time and money once in college.
Where there things at CAPS that helped prepare you for success in college?
CAPS prepares you for college success in many ways. It relies on your responsibility and commitment to be a responsible and hardworking student by simulating a real college experience where you may have to commute to class. Additionally, the emphasis on professionalism is huge. Since being accepted into the pharmacy program, professionalism is not only required, but it is expected. When I first started CAPS, I thought it was silly to dress professionally for class each day, but now being a part of a professional program, I see the value in preparing for it early.
What was your biggest take-away from your CAPS experience?
CAPS is definitely a unique experience that few people get to have, and I think it is something each student can use to his or her advantage. The experience you get and the skills you build in teamwork, leadership, and independence are very valuable as you transition into your college experience. I still talk about CAPS and my CAPStone project in interviews because of how unique the experience was and how much I learned from being a part of it. At first people do not understand what the CAPS program even is, but once you explain it, they see how our school district is trying to make an emphasis on being ready, not just for college, but for being young professionals and it really works to your advantage.