Degree/training: I am currently taking dual-enrollment and Governor's School to earn my associates in the arts and sciences as I graduate high school. I plan on transferring my credits to a four-year college and majoring in biology or neuroscience, and I am also taking a class to earn my EMT certification.

Career Aspiration: I would like to go to medical school and become a pediatrician. I am also interested in working as a child psychologist or speech psychologist.

Why did you choose your career path? Growing up with siblings and working with my family as a unit has also made me realize home life can affect a person's both physical and mental health. The support system I have at home has provided me with a foundation for my career, and I want to give other kids and parents alike the resources necessary for them to feel confident in themselves and give back to their community. I firmly believe that instilling children with values, shapes their identity, and starts with having adults that build their self esteem.

Did you start to think about this career path in middle school? I originally started thinking about a career in medicine since elementary school. I had a pediatrician who inspired me and took good care of me when I had pneumonia. Around the same time after that, my little brother had been born and I was overjoyed to have a baby sibling to take care of. I realized that I wanted to work with children and take care of them as I had done for my siblings, and as my parents and doctor had done for me.

If you completed an internship, tell us about it. By next spring, I will be doing an unpaid internship at my local LewisGale hospital. I am currently volunteering, which requires an online orientation and in-person in addition to forms and vaccinations. I found out about volunteering through their website and contacted the volunteer director, while the internship will be done through school affiliation. Most of the applications that I have from my volunteer work should align with the ones at my future internship. With the EMT class I am completely, I will be doing clinicals to gain some more insight from a prehospital perspective.

Describe any volunteer experiences that contributed to your decision to pursue training in a health career? For the past year, I have been volunteering at Alleghany LewisGale hospital. Given the close-knit hospital setting, the volunteering supervisor has allowed time to go into different departments such as the ER, radiology department, and behavioral unit to experience hands-on work similar to an internship. Before my volunteer experiences, I was unfamiliar with the roles and relationships that staff members and patients carried. Being in various divisions has also allowed me to see how different each environment is, and how they rely on each other as a system–such as the ER transferring patients to the behavioral unit or ICU. I have also noted the variety of patients I have seen from each department, and I have been gradually learning to communicate and understand them.

What high school courses do you feel helped you? Our newly launched program, the Advanced Healthcare Program, has allowed me to explore the various types of healthcare careers there are and built a network of people I reach out to. The coordinator of the Advanced Healthcare Program, Mrs. Virginia Phillips has been a vital part of this journey in my high school career. In addition, my Dual-Enrollment English teacher and some of the STEM teachers I have had at both Governor's School and high school have been supportive of my career goals. My school permitted us to start doing Dual Enrollment/Governor School courses in my junior year, which is also when our Advanced Healthcare Program came out. The combination of the classes I took provided some more insight into the types I classes I will be taking for a typical "pre-med" major and prepared me for a college workload. These courses include classes such as English Composition, Philosophy, Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry.