LCU hosts high schoolers interested in healthcare careers

Louisiana Christian University welcomed 35 high school students from around Central Louisiana on Friday to its first Healthcare Heroes Expedition to learn from educators and experts about different career opportunities.

Students were from Alexandria Senior High School, Pineville High School, Grace Christian School and Georgetown High School in Grant Parish. The event was held in cooperation with the Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center (CLAHEC). Two LCU alumni, who are local healthcare professionals, spoke with the students about their own experiences

Dr. Ryan Riche, the director of physical therapy at Rapides Regional Medical Center, and Dr. Jonathan Hunter, a family practice physician at Cenla Associates in The Clinics, shared information and answered questions from the interested teens.

In addition, students rotated throughout the day-long event through different hands-on activities conducted by LCU faculty and students: a CPR simulation, a heart/EKG simulation, nursing demonstrations and physical therapy assistant spine board transfers.

“This is the first one we’ve held here, and we hope it will be an annual spring event with CLAHEC,” said Dr. David Elliott, LCU chemistry professor and chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Math. “I observed the students watching the demonstrations and doing the simulations, and they were busy and engaged.”

Gabrielle Juneau, the CEO of CLAHEC, said the organization was established in 1991 to provide resources and education to increase the number of healthcare professionals and access to quality healthcare in rural and underserved areas of Louisiana.

“We partner with universities and medical schools to provide high school students opportunities to explore healthcare careers that are available right here in Cenla,” Juneau said.

Nicole Lee, CLAHEC health careers coordinator, said there’s no substitute for offering young people the opportunity to see what experts do and to hear real experiences from professors and professionals in the healthcare field.

“The hands-on experience from faculty and people in the field,” Lee said, “gives students a lot of insight and exposes them to careers and opportunities they don’t know about.”

More information about LCU’s Department of Natural Sciences and all the academic programs in healthcare fields, including physical therapy assistant, nursing and exercise science, can be found at



Media Release | March 11, 2024 | Pineville, Louisiana
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth B. Clarke, Director of University Communications |