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Northwell Announces Winners of 9th Annual SPARK! Challenge

Northwell Health announced the winners of the 9th Annual SPARK! Challenge at the Cradle of Aviation Museum after thousands of students from dozens of schools in the Tri-State area participated in the competition.

The Northwell SPARK! Challenge, which took place on May 15, shows students what it’s like to work in different medical fields. Students learn about so many professions within the Northwell Health system, and then work in teams to make posters and videos about the different disciplines.

This year’s winners were announced by Jill Kalman, MD, Northwell executive vice president and chief medical officer and deputy physician-in-chief. The winners, along with the careers they profiled, were:

Poster Winners

1st Place: Bellmore John F. Kennedy High School – Phlebotomist

2nd Place: Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School – Perioperative Nurse

3rd Place: Sewanhaka High School – Software Engineer

Video Winners

1st Place: Baldwin High School – Phlebotomist

2nd Place: Richmond Hill High School – Medical Office Assistant

3rd Place: Kellenberg Memorial High School – Clinical Lab Scientist

“The SPARK! Challenge gives the next generation of health care professionals a glimpse of the many different types of careers they can pursue,” said Maxine Carrington, Northwell’s senior vice president and chief people officer. “Northwell is so proud to give students an opportunity to identify their potential, and how they can become the future professionals we need in this field.”

The 2023 SPARK! Challenge saw entries from more than 2,000 11th and 12th grade students from 58 high schools across Long Island, New York City and Westchester. Before the event, students participated in a virtual conference where they learned about the different careers at Northwell. Then they took that info to create their presentations.

The first-place teams won Apple Watches, second-place teams won Apple Air Pods, and third-place teams were awarded gift bags.

Before the winners were announced, students participated in breakout sessions in the Cradle of Aviation to learn more about health care professions. They also heard from Jason Naidich, MD, SVP Chief Innovation Officer, who was the keynote speaker at the event.

The SPARK! Challenge was created in 2014 by Northwell’s workforce readiness team. A modest 300 students competed in the first year. Since then, more than 10,000 students from across the area have participated in the event and learned about the myriad different careers in the health care field.

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