Sydney Poppe

Instead of simply spend their free time on the couch binge watching seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, certain students this past summer actually went beyond the television screen and dove into the world of medicine. Fascinated by the medical scene, these Titans involved themselves in a multitude experience to gain valuable exposure to the healthcare field.

For senior Uzakou Okafor, her passion for medicine sent her across the United States to Baltimore, the home of the renowned John Hopkins School of Medicine. After completing some interviews, Okafor had qualified for an intensive, two week summer camp focused on providing high school students across the country an intimate look into the life of a healthcare worker.

Okafor’s love for medicine stems all the way back to her elementary years. “You can go back to my old elementary school when we did the “What About Me” posters,” Okafor said, “and mine always said ‘I can’t wait until everyone calls me Dr. Okafor!’”

Okafor said her ambitions aren’t surprising considering the fact all of her family members are either doctors or nurses. However, her connection to the career pathway stems from something even more personal.

Suffering from a condition called brachial plexus, Okafor said she was born with a disabled shoulder so her childhood consisted of frequent visits to the hospital for surgeries and appointments with physical therapists. Her personal journey with her condition has inspired her to pursue a career specifically related to bones. “I’m a bone gal,” Okafor said.

Okafor said the camp exposed her to a multitude of unique experiences, whether it be touring the Maryland hospital where she observed medical students performing autopsies, listening to different panels of respected doctors from a variety of specialties, or even getting the rare opportunity to diagnose a patient.

Reflecting upon her time at camp as a whole, Okafor said she was grateful for the diversity of information and opportunities the camp exposed her to for it’s given her a greater understanding of what all the medical field has to offer.  “The biggest thing I took from the camp was to be open to what different options are available and not to listen to anyone else, because a lot of people, especially when you’re going into medicine, have opinions on what you should be. But ultimately, it’s your decision.”

Not too far north of John Hopkins, junior Anastasia Moore left the Midwest for Boston after being invited to attend National Congress of Future Medical Leaders this past summer. Moore, who’s aspired to be in medicine since age 7 and was invited based off of her exemplary grades in medical-based classes in high school, was objectively a perfect candidate for the Congress.

Out north, Moore viewed a live viewing of a robotic surgery, which she said was especially intriguing since she aspires to eventually become a surgeon. Moreover, Moore said the Congress allowed her to gain a greater insight into the medical field and reinforced her excitement for her future.

“The Congress was probably the most motivational and capturing experience I have ever had. There were so many guest speakers that spoke about their accomplishments, and their breakthroughs, and how they got to where they are today. It was such a fun, and life changing experience, and I met so many teenagers who had the same passion as I do,” Moore said.

Additionally, Moore said she has been granted the ability to travel abroad and complete a Pre-Med Internship in Vietnam, as well as being inducted into the Torch and Laurel Society. “The Congress has opened up so many opportunities that are unimaginable as a teenager, and I cannot wait to take this next very big leap towards my future in the medical field,” Moore said.

Choosing to stay closer to home, senior Abby Burroughs spent a couple weeks during the summer shadowing in both labor and delivery and the ER of Research Medical Center. “The first time I shadowed, I walked in nervous and felt amazed. The nurses were constantly showing me and teaching me new things,” Burrough said.

Burrough said her shadowing experience allowed her to even witness a birth, something particularly special to her because she plans to pursue a career as a labor/delivery nurse. “This was amazing for me,” Burroughs said.

“Shadowing has furthered my passion for working in a hospital,” Burroughs said, “and has also given me confidence when it comes to talking to doctors and patients.”