Campus Life

Students from the College of Arts and Sciences shine at State Competition

By Lauren Haggett, University Communications

Three University of West Florida students advanced to the National level after competing in the State Leadership Conference for Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) in Jacksonville last week.

Lauren Quinn, Narcissus Willis and Kimberly Giles, all seniors at UWF, will travel to Anaheim, Calif. in June to compete in the National HOSA competition.

Quinn and Giles competed in the extemporaneous health writing category at the state competition. They each had to write a complete essay about a given topic related to healthcare in 60 minutes. It is then graded by the judges based on skills such as, originality, content, and cohesiveness, to name a few. Quinn came home with first place and Giles placed second.

“I really enjoyed meeting and spending time with the many people around the state of Florida that also wish to pursue a career in healthcare,” said Giles, a senior majoring in Biology. “I joined HOSA to learn more about the healthcare community. I wanted to meet people with my similar healthcare interest.”

Willis, a senior majoring in health care administration, placed first in the prepared speaking category, which required her to prepare a speech about this year’s National HOSA theme, “Hearts that Believe and Hands that Achieve.”

“This year is the first year I have participated in the HOSA at the collegiate level, and it has really helped me sharpen my career focus,” said Willis.

This is also the first year that the UWF HOSA chapter has competed, as the group was formed at the end of last year. These three students competed in the regional competition at Pensacola State College in January, and each student placed high enough to advance to the state level.

“I decided to help create the UWF chapter last year because it is such a great organization for health students,” said Quinn, president of the UWF HOSA chapter and a senior majoring in environmental studies natural science. “All students that are in health-related fields can join our professional organization. The competitions that are held at each conference are curriculum-based and are great tools for fine-tuning professional skills.”

HOSA has been around since 1976 and has more than 120,000 members. Its goal is to provide opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development to all students studying health science.

“While at the conference, the students participated in professional development training in addition to their individual competitions,” said Angela Hahn, Ph.D., assistant director of health sciences at UWF.

Hahn volunteered her time to take the students to Jacksonville last week and acted as event manager and judge for the Biotechnology/Clinical Lab Sciences competition at the conference.

“These young women represent the finest qualities of UWF students: they are professional, hard-working and very bright,” said Hahn.

For more information about the UWF HOSA chapter, contact Lauren Quinn at For more information about HOSA Nationals visit,