Thrive by IU Health

May 23, 2024

Connecting students to careers

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Connecting students to careers

IU Health Ball and the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities have been within walking distance of each other since 1988. In 2023, the organizations came together in a partnership to connect students with careers in the healthcare field.

The Indiana Academy provides students with a unique high school experience; it serves as a residential high school for gifted and talented sophomores, juniors, and seniors from across the state of Indiana.

Joel Olufowote, PhD, director of academic affairs for the Indiana Academy reached out to Angie Koger, director of Human Resources (HR) for the East Central Region. Olufowote had an interest in providing intern opportunities for students at the Indiana Academy, introducing them to an immersive learning experience.

“After I spoke with Joel, I knew this was going to be something great and immediately started researching how to make this work,” says Koger.

With both inpatient and outpatient care in mind, Koger and her team felt that placing a student intern in the right place would be key to creating a successful experience. She finally settled on outpatient and selected IU Health Riley Pediatrics – Muncie. Once Koger contacted the practice manager, Barb Amos, the two created a plan so the intern could experience all aspects of the office.

Olufowote introduced Koger to Hailey Sainz, a junior at the Academy. Sainz, who hails from southern Indiana made her way to Muncie in 2022 — a significant leap for a high school student. Sainz is committed to her education and knew at a young age she wanted to be a part of the healthcare field.

Sainz started her career in healthcare at 15 when she applied for her certified nursing assistant license and worked in a nursing home. Her interest furthered after she started with Riley Pediatrics – Muncie.

“I learned how to interact with different types of people and that is a huge aspect of healthcare,” says Sainz. “During my time there, I learned something new every day and had different experiences.”

Once Sainz completed her first internship, she had a strong desire to pursue nursing and the HR team helped connect her to other roles within IU Health. Sainz knew she wanted some experience on the floor, so she obtained her patient care assistant certification and was hired on the cardiac progressive care unit at Ball. While Sainz worked at the hospital, the now high school senior was also completing college-level nursing prerequisites at Ball State University.

Trailblazing the partnership of Ball and the Indiana Academy, Sainz shared her experiences with her peers. After hearing about Sainz's experience her friend, Alesya Rathinasamy, contacted Koger with interest in working at Ball.

“After Hailey got her CNA and became a PCT, I saw how excited she was for her job, I knew that I wanted to follow a similar path,” says Rathinasamy.

Ball is familiar to Rathinasamy, she grew up in Muncie. Her passion for making a difference started when she was young and was treated at Ball.

The ECR Human Resources team, including Allison Sears, onboarding consultant for the ECR, and Alli Juskevice, Talent Acquisition team lead for the ECR, had a significant impact on the success of the ECR Student Placement Services pilot, consistently checking up on the students during their internships and offering future opportunities.

“Through this partnership, we have grown our talent pool of skilled candidates by providing employment opportunities after their internships,” says Juskevice.

These students have laid the foundation for others within the community to obtain skills that shape the trajectory of their careers.

“This is completely changing our community,” says Olufowote. “Our [Academy] kids are so excited to have the opportunity to interact with the team at Ball.”

For more information on the student placement services program visit