What arrived as a simple piece of mail addressed to Oakdale High School’s Breanna Morgan, manifested itself into an amazing and eye-opening opportunity.
In the fall of 2014 the then-freshman received an invitation from the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists (NAFPMS) to attend a three day conference. The 15-year-old shared upon first receipt she and her parents weren’t sure what to make of it.
“My mom thought it was fake at first,” Breanna said of the invitation. Still unsure of how they received her name she added, “I think it was a teacher recommendation. I don’t know which one of my teachers did it.”
According to the NAFPMS website, students may be nominated by teachers, counselors or principals. Students should have a desire for a career as a physician or medical scientist with a GPA of 3.5 or greater.
The event, the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, was hosted over the course of three days in late June. It was hosted at Paul E. Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts, which is located on the University of Massachusetts campus.
“It was originally supposed to be hosted at Harvard, but they had so many kids going they had to move it to Tsongas Center,” Breanna said. “There were 3,000 kids there, 3,000 delegates.”
The teen felt right at home, educationally speaking.
“Normally, primarily it has been my best class,” the student said of her interest in science. “Just the learning aspect of everything. There’s always going to be something new no matter what you go into.”
Much of the three days spent at the conference were packed with guest motivational speakers. As the teen reviewed the program, she excitedly shared the back stores of many of those who spoke.
In addition to the speakers the students were treated to viewing a life surgery as it took place remotely in ‘real’ time. According to Breanna, the patient underwent thoracic surgery to remove a mass which was in his lung. The patient had a history of colon cancer so removal was imperative to rule out the spread of the disease.
“We got to watch him take it out over two giant screens,” she said of the surgery, “and students were able to ask questions of the doctor in real time.”
As a first time visitor to the east coast, Breanna enjoyed seeing sights with her mom, one of which included a visit to Harvard.
“Mostly when not at the conference we were sleeping,” she said, “because it was long days. When we first got there (the conference) my mom and I were shocked because it was just huge. There were so many kids.”
Breanna shared she would encourage any student presented with the invitation to take advantage of the opportunity. Once interested in dentistry, the trip to the conference has prompted her to give further thought to the medical field as a whole.
“It opened a lot of doors,” she said of the trip. “They had all kinds of people there you could meet and talk to. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was really cool.”