Degree/training: High-School, Technical school, Certified Nursing Assistant training.

Career Aspiration: In my current position, (high-school) my future is focused on maintaining a high GPA and lead productive extracurricular involvement in my undergraduate studies as a Pre-Medicine Student. Doing so will provide me an opportunity for a competitive medical school that will put me on track for residency.

Why did you choose your career path? It’s actually a funny story how I chose this career path. I was in line at Kroger, and the clerk asked middle-school me what I wanted to be when I was older, and I told her I simply did not know. Although she was a clerk she told me about how rewarding the medical field is as well as financial and job security it provides. From this point on I have been volunteering at hospitals and have been doing clinicals as a CNA and I can confidently say this was the right choice!

Where did you hear about a health career path and how did you enter this path? Because I was introduced so young to the medical field I have been searching for reasoning as to ‘why’ I want to fulfill this career. This search for my reasoning led me to the technical school for my high school BCAT (Burton Center for Arts and Technology) where I enrolled in the nursing program. This may have been the best decision I have made in my nursing career; not only has it fueled my passion to pursue a career as a M.D., but it has also led me to opportunities that are lifting Roanoke such as the Blue Ridge Partnership for Health Science Careers.

What advice would you give those who are guiding students into health careers? Get started early! Luckily, I had the opportunity at BCAT to be a part of the nursing program. Thus, throughout my journey simply as a CNA, I have been set on a path of personal growth and self discovery. However, if this is not a possibility, I would recommend counselors to look into seminars for health careers as well as ‘career days’ at your organization. If it weren’t for the tours announced at my school for BCAT, I would have simply never pursued a career in health as early as I did.

Describe any volunteer experiences that contributed to your decision to pursue training in a health career? Summer volunteering at Carilion was an excellent way to discover the critical function of healthcare. Luckily, I was on a unit handing out food and water as well as directing nurses when a call light for something like an IV bag emptying. This was an incredible experience as I volunteered 50+ hours throughout the summer and got to learn a lot about the career track I can more thoroughly see myself headed towards.

What high school courses do you feel helped you? BCAT! My teacher has a real passion for nursing and serves as an excellent role model. As a nurse for 17+ years I cant thank her enough for the Danville hospitality and true care aspect she has not only brought, but instilled within our class. (She is the reason I am here!) In general, it is extremely fascinating the way she has changed the mindsets of students who simply took the class just to try it out.

What courses do you wish you took to prepare you for current health career training? I am so early in my time in health careers that its hard to tell. Perhaps general counseling to help steer me in the correct direction would be best to plan out my future.