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Founding Partner Houston Methodist Exposes Students to Medical Field

Houston Methodist, one of Houston’s premier medical institutions and a Cristo Rey Jesuit 10-year Corporate Work-Study Program (CWSP) founding partner, has been providing a decade of opportunities for Cristo Rey Jesuit students to work with renown physicians, observe surgeries, and attend scientific presentations. Houston Methodist is one of Cristo Rey Jesuit’s 10 corporate founding partners, supporting the school since it opened in 2009. Over the past decade, with Cristo Rey Jesuit’s increasing student enrollment, corporate partners have grown to a whopping 170 partners.

Recently named by Forbes as the #1 employer in Texas, Houston Methodist’s interest in supporting Cristo Rey Jesuit’s unique school concept started with a request from the school’s Founding President Fr. TJ Martinez, S.J.  Fr. Martinez introduced the program to a Houston Methodist senior executive, who took it to their leadership team. “Fr. Martinez had such a positive energy and a big personality. We immediately wanted to be part of this innovative program,” said Ramon M. Cantu, Houston Methodist Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Strategic and Business Development Officer.

Students rotate through various departments at Houston Methodist, Houston Methodist Research Institute, and at Houston Methodist West Houston Hospital to get exposure to all aspects of the medical field, including working with benefits in the Human Resources (HR) Department during open enrollment and working in the Methodist Leadership Academy, where students have an opportunity to gain leadership skills. “If not for the Corporate Work-Study Program, students would not have this kind of exposure to different careers in a corporate setting,” Cantu said. Students will also be working at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital in the fall.

Supervisors attempt to match student interest with jobs that fit those interests. Cantu reiterated a story about a Cristo Rey Jesuit Class of 2018 student who was working at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. The student, who had aspirations to be a doctor, was introduced to the Research Institute’s veterinary services, which convinced her to pursue a veterinary medicine degree at Texas A&M University.

“It’s rewarding for Methodist employees to mentor our future workforce,” Cantu said. “They take a sincere interest in the students and understand the impact they are making in their lives. It’s the culture of Houston Methodist to give back to our community and this program gives leadership an opportunity to develop both our giving and teaching culture.” 

“The students inspire our leaders as much as we inspire them,” said Wayne Voss, CEO at Methodist West Houston Hospital. “I see an increase in each students’ social skills as they progress through the program. They go from shy, uncertain freshmen to confident, well-spoken and professional upperclassmen. I appreciate that I get an opportunity to support Cristo Rey Jesuit.”

Homer Quintana, Program Project Manager at Houston Methodist Research Institute, has been assuring students are placed in jobs that align with their interests since 2015. “Students engage in jobs that will excite them about science,” Quintana said. Quintana goes above teaching them workplace skills; he invites them to medical seminars covering topics the students may be interested in, in hopes to ignite their passion for a career in the sciences.

“Anything the students want to learn about, or are curious about, it’s here!  If they want to see a heart surgery, I’ll make it happen. If they want to learn more about neuroscience, I’ll connect them with an expert in the field,” Quintana said. “Every day, we remind them, ‘you belong here.’  We empower them.”

Quintana has a special interest in seeing the students succeed. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school. I also went on to get a master’s degree; so, I can relate to Cristo Rey Jesuit students. I try to pay it forward,” he said. “If I can give some guidance and help these students flourish, I’m happy to do it. I’m always telling the students ‘you can do amazing things if you set your mind to it.’”

Angie Munive, Project Specialist, Houston Methodist HR, has been on-boarding Cristo Rey Jesuit students the past six years. “After the first year working here, I assign the students to a mentor in other departments.  I match their maturity level with what they like to do.  I want to make their experiences more than stuffing envelopes.  Based on my experiences with the students, I’m confident they will do a good job.”

This year, Munive had a senior who wasn’t sure what career path she wanted to pursue; so, Munive had the student talk to several people that had graduated from the college she was considering to help her make decisions.

“Cristo Rey Jesuit students are given opportunities most students don’t have,” she continued. “I especially like Cristo Rey Jesuit’s DiscoverU Program because it helps them experience places like Japan. And, Project CEO is a great way for seniors to develop their presentation skills.

“I like that I’m able to have a positive influence on these young people’s lives,” Munive concluded. “It makes me really happy to see them do well. They have mentors that truly care about them.”

Thank you Houston Methodist for 10 years of inspiring Cristo Rey Jesuit miracles by giving them an opportunity to work at a premier institution that performs medical miracles. #ADecadeOfMiracles