College News

Barton healthcare students place in international HOSA competition

three students with medals and certificates
Barton HOSA members (From left) Valeria Gallardo, Callie Zink, and Kaden Baird pose for a photo at 2023 International Leadership Conference and Competition in Dallas, Texas in June. The students represented several healthcare programs at Barton including Emergency Medical Services, Nursing, Medical Lab Technician, and Pharmacy Technician.

July 6, 2023
Story by Joe Vinduska
Courtesy photo submitted

Students from Barton’s chapter of HOSA (Future Health Professionals) joined almost 11,000 students in Dallas, Texas earlier this summer at the 2023 International Leadership Conference (ILC), where they competed against students from all 50 states as well as students from Korea, China, Canada, Puerto Rico, and America Samoa.

In addition to the competition, participants could attend many leadership and healthcare-related symposiums, and visit the EXPO with over 300 different booths representing products, equipment, universities, and other student resources. They also enjoyed a presentation from keynote speaker Admiral Brett Giroir, the United States Assistant Secretary of Health from 2018-2021.

Barton Director of Medical Laboratory Technology Karen Gunther said of the six Barton students who qualified for the ILC, Kaden Baird, Callie Zink, and Valeria Gallardo were able to attend and compete. She said all three students made it to the finals round. Baird finished second place overall in the medical assisting competition, Zink finished in the top five in cultural diversity and disparities, and Gallardo placed second overall in the clinical laboratory science competition.

Gunther is part of the ILC Competitive Event Committee, and along with the 29 other members of the committee, arranged and organized all the events including the written exams, skills, teamwork, and leadership competitive events offered at this year's conference. She said this event helps the students learn far beyond the reach of what is possible in any classroom or lab and that the group was able to go on this trip thanks to very generous donations.

“On behalf of HOSA, I would like to thank everyone who helped us get to Dallas and compete,” she said. “We are so proud of all our students for how well they represented Kansas and Barton Community College during their week in Dallas and how hard they competed. The networking opportunities they experienced, coupled with the exposure they had to various workshops and equipment demonstrations will help them be even more knowledgeable as they navigate their education and careers.”

HOSA is a global, student-led organization recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The group’s mission is to empower members to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience. HOSA actively promotes career opportunities in the health industry and aims to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.

To learn more, please contact Gunther at or (620) 786-1133.