National Forum Solidifies Career Choice for Future Surgeon

Article excerpt

Byline: Eloise Podraza

Allison McNickle, 17, jumps into Willowbrook High School classes this fall with a pretty good idea where she's heading after senior year.

Acting on a long-time interest in the health field, the Villa Park teen attended the 1999 National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, getting a healthy dose of what a career in medicine means.

"Last year, my math teacher (Judith Sims) had information about the forum and asked if anyone in class was interested in going into medicine. I was, and she recommended me," said Allison, modest about a soaring 4.816 GPA which ranks her in the number one spot of her class and may have helped open the door for acceptance into the program.

"I'm looking into becoming a surgeon of some sort, but not sure of what type of specialty," she added, indicating that winding up high school classes successfully is an important stepping stone toward her future.

In addition, opportunities offered to high school students, which allow them to explore career paths, make thinking about prospects more exciting.

"Participating in the forum really helped me understand what a career in medicine can be because I never really had a hands-on chance to see close up what it's like. It cemented my desire to study medicine."

Allison attended the San Francisco forum and was based at the University of California Berkeley campus for 10 days.

"Each day we had a small group session where we had problem-solving activities and discussed medical issues. We also heard various speakers, including Patch Adams," she said. …