Planning with purpose

Becoming a doctor is no easy feat, and several organizations help future doctors find the correct path they should take. Since middle school, Katelyn Clark of Godley has known she’s wanted to become a doctor.

To get a head start, she attended the Congress of Future Medical Leaders conference from June 26-30 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The honors-only program is hosted by the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists for high school students to meet, talk and listen to professional doctors from all over the nation.

The purpose of the event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical students, to stay true to their dream and after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal, according to its website.

Clark, 15, said she and 3,000 other students heard Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners discuss leading medical research; received advice from Ivy League and top medical school deans on what to expect in medical school; witnessed stories told by patients who are living medical miracles; were inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies; and learned about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.

“It’s a bunch of high schoolers coming together to learn about what they all love, which is medicine, and getting to get that one step ahead of everyone else,” Clark said. “Most of [the doctors] talked about how your age doesn’t hold you back from doing the things you want to do in life or how the mistakes you made help shape you into the person you’re going to be.”

Being able to talk with other students around her age was amazing, she said.

“Just seeing how many people were there that do what you want to do, it’s crazy,” she said. “I didn’t expect there to be so many people there.”

Every student she met was going to be a junior or senior in the fall.

“I didn’t meet anyone my age,” she said. “It was really different because they didn’t treat me like I was just young and I didn’t understand. They treated me like I was their age.”

NAFPMS Executive Director Richard Rossi said this is a crucial time in America where there is a need for more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially.

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