Students from Montgomery County’s Wheaton High School are visiting the National Naval Medical Center to get a first-hand look at career opportunities in the medical field.
The students are enrolled in the Bio Sciences and Medicine Academy at Wheaton and Thomas Edison High Schools. The students are assisting several departments in the hospital and receiving basic medical training.
‘‘This program gets them out of the classroom and pushes them to work harder than they would in a normal classroom environment,” said Kristine Mansky, a medical careers teacher for Montgomery County and the program’s instructor. ‘‘This is the first year for Wheaton High School to be in the program and, in my 16 years of doing this program, this last grading cycle was the first time everyone had straight As.”
‘‘These students come in and ask a lot of questions and they all seem to do real well,” said Hospitalman Richelle Lodholtz, a corpsman for Bethesda’s Pediatric Department. ‘‘I had a medical occupations class when I was in high school, which is just like this program, that helped me a lot with my path to a medical career.”
Cathy Kuangu,16, a student in the program, said she wants to attend Georgetown University and become an Obstetrician and Gynecologist. Kuangu said she wasn’t missing out on the ‘‘high school experience,” but rather felt like she was getting a more rewarding experience in this program.
Another student, 15-year-old Yosan Girmay, said she’s looking forward to becoming a surgeon.
‘‘This is a step leading to my end goal of going to Johns Hopkins [University],” Girmay said. ‘‘We have taken college level classes already, which will give us an advantage when we do get to college.”
Andy Wood, 16, is attending the class to prepare for veterinarian school.
‘‘I obviously don’t get to work with animals here, but the basic training I am getting will still translate later,” he said. ‘‘It’s the same treatments just different anatomy. This program is also helping with my normal high school classes, especially vocabulary.”
During the program’s first semester, students learn various areas of the medical field, including anatomy and biology. Much of the learning, Mansky said, is conducted in the classroom.
During the second semester, students come to Bethesda for hands-on training, learn bedside manner and interact with staff members and patients.