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Bentonville’s Ignite Program Gives Students Learning Experiences

ROGERS (KFSM) – Working in a hospital lab is not your typical high school activity, but it's what one Bentonville student did several afternoons a week of his senior year. It's part of the Bentonville School District’s Ignite Program.

Carson Ercanbrack spent his senior year of high school coming to the lab at Mercy Hospital.

“I've always had an interest in the medical field and I wanted to know if pathology was something that I really wanted to pursue and what better way to pursue that to actually be with a pathologist,” he said.

He shadowed Dr. Roger Fink, pathologist and laboratory director.

“You know, you get to ask them questions not only about their daily life as a pathologist, but the steps they took to get there, like how should I start preparing for medical school,” he said.

The point of the Ignite Program is to provide students with learning experiences in a field they are interested in. Students can choose strands like construction professions and management, computer and information technology or medical and health science.

Dr. Fink said most people haven't even heard of pathology, let alone a high school student.

“Most people who do this are usually much further along in college or medical school and they still don't know very much about what you see under the microscope,” Fink said.

Dr. Fink said working with Carson has been a great experience.

“It was a little bit more of a challenge in having someone younger who you can kind of spike their interest by looking under the microscope, but looking at the actual tissue specimens would be more beneficial so we also incorporated some of that,” he said.

Carson will be a freshman at the University of Arkansas this fall majoring in bio-chemistry. He then hopes to go to medical school and become a pathologist.