While many county teens may have spent their summer sunning beside the pool or working that summer job to make a little money, one rising North Surry High School junior spent part of his getting a peek at his dream job.
Andrew Cave recently participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum: Careers in Medicine. The annual summer event featured top students from around the country and was held on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The forum is designed to offer students a framework for examining careers in medicine, and featured discussions of emerging issues in public health, medical ethics, research and general practice.
“The program provides an important behind-the-scenes perspective on medical careers,” said Marguerite Regan, PhD., dean of academic affairs for the forum. “This is a critical time for high school students to begin exploring their career paths, just prior to immersing themselves in college coursework and creating a pathway to future success.”
For Cave, just being invited to attend the forum was an honor.
“I received a letter in the mail letting me know I was being invited to attend, but when we started looking at the $2,700 tuition, we thought we may have to do fund-raisers or something,” he said. “That was a lot of money for nine days.”
A few weeks later, Cave said he received an email from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where he attended Camp Med in 2013.
“They said they were going to pick two students they would pay to attend, and told me I had good credentials,” Cave said. “They asked me if I wanted to go. I wrote an essay explaining why I wanted to go and they agreed to pay my tuition. All I had to pay for was lunch.”
When he arrived, Cave said he was shocked.
“There were kids everywhere, and they were from all over the country. I met kids from California and New York and everywhere in between,” he said. “I was expecting like 20 kids there and there were more like 200.”
The students who attended the camp were kept jumping, Cave said.
“They were long days,” he said. “We were up at 7 a.m., and didn’t go to bed until 11 p.m.,” he said. “Every day we dressed in professional dress like suits and ties, and it got hot a few times.”
But he wouldn’t give up the experience.
“We got to tour the medical schools at U.N.C., Duke University and Wake Forest,” he said. “And I had the opportunity to watch several surgeries, including a heart transplant.”
Which pretty much sealed his future, Cave added.
“I’ve always loved medicine, and want to be a pediatric intensive care doctor,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to work at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.
“I loved watching the doctors work because that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
“When I went to this camp and had the chance to talk one-on-one with the doctors, it made me understand why I want to do it.”
It will take time and a lot of hard work to accomplish his lofty goals, but Cave said he’s ready for the challenge.
“Now I’m even more excited about a career in medicine,” he said.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.