A kickstart to a medical career

(Sentinel Photo by Beverly Van Buskirk) Le Mars Community High School Principal Dr. Mark Iverson and LCHS senior Megan Friederich (right) hold the Award of Excellence certificate Friederich received for her outstanding academic performance, leadership potential, and dedication to serving humanity through the profession of medicine. Friederich attended the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston in June 2016 and will travel to Mexico in July to observe medical procedures.

LE MARS — An interest in science for a Le Mars Community High School senior has given her opportunities to study.

Megan Friederich was chosen to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston for three days in June.

“I discovered my love for science when I was in the fifth grade and have continued to love it since. As a kid I would always watch NCIS and watching the investigations that would go on inspired me to pursue a career in forensic pathology,” Friederich said.

The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.

Friederich was nominated by Dr. Robert Darling, the Medical Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists to represent Iowa based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine.

“At the Congress I met a large amount of scientists and doctors who’s practices revolutionized the field of medicine,” Friederich said.

During the three-day Congress, Friederich joined students from across the country and heard Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners talk about leading medical research; was given 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; was inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies; and learned about cutting edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.

The academy offers free services and programs to students who want to be physicians or go into medical science. Some of the services and programs the academy offers are online social networks through which future doctors and medical scientists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by physicians and medical students; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance and more.

For Friederich, that means a trip to Monterrey, Mexico from July 13-28, 2018 as part of the FutureDocs Abroad Experience.

“I was invited to go on the trip to Mexico by the same organization and I will be volunteering and learning in a hospital down there,” Friederich said. “I had a choice of either going to Poland or Mexico, but the Poland trip filled up faster than the trip to Mexico.”

The trip will offer what FutureDocs calls the “Big 3” the most unique and sought after experiences an aspiring future doctor can have to prepare for a future in medicine.

The “Big 3” are:

3. Touch — Gross Anatomy Up Close and Personal. Work on and study real human cadavers in the lab.

2. Look, Observe Surgery — View surgeries taking place in the operating room and discuss the procedure with the surgeon as it’s happening.

1. Feel — Shadow physicians in the emergency room, clinic and patient rooms as they treat patients and perform procedures.

The bonus? Participants will even have the option to spend time at the morgue, side by side with doctors and pathologists, though that’s not for everyone.

“I really hope to observe and learn on this trip and get a full experience,” Friederich said.

Friederich has been planning for her future in science and medicine.

“As I start college I hope to bring back my experiences and apply them in college. I plan on going to the University of Iowa. I have prepared myself in high school by taking multiple college courses,” she said.

Friederich and her family moved to Le Mars from Oklahoma when she was in the seventh grade. Her parents are Kevin and Phyllis Friederich.

“This is a crucial time in America when we need more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, executive director, National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. “Focused, bright and determined students like Megan Friederich are our future and she deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give her.”

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