SJ teens sample a dose of medical school

SJ teens sample a dose of medical school

By Carly Romalino, Courier-Post

CAMDEN – For the three minutes Nnenna Izuway stood before her peers in the medical school’s lecture hall, the Cinnaminson High School junior was an expert on ectopic pregnancy.

Nnenna, 17, is among more than 30 South Jersey high schoolers partnered with students at Cooper Medical School at Rowan University in the Cooper Afterschool Mentoring Program.

The teens made presentations Monday on medicine and biology — from the impact of “roofies,” the date rape drug, to traumatic brain injury — in CAMP’s Science Symposium.

Nnenna explained how ectopic pregnancy — an egg fertilized and growing in a fallopian tube — happens, the risks involved and how it’s treated.

She sees herself someday wearing the white lab coat and delivering babies in a hospital. CAMP is the first baby step in her career.

The Camden-based program couples teens from Cinnaminson, Pennsauken, Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts and LEAP Academy University Charter high schools interested in sciences and medicine with medical students who provide individual tutoring and mentorship.

Once each week, the high schoolers meet in the medical auditorium for a one-hour presentation by med students. Then, the pairs break off into one-on-one sessions to work on homework or chat about school.

CAMP started last year with program coordinator Muhammad Mustafa, 23 — a second-year medical student — reaching out to South Jersey high schools to bring students to the Rowan Medical School campus on Broadway in Camden.

The program gives teens “exposure to the health care field overall,” Mustafa explained.

“It’s a good way to have one-on-one tutoring.”

In September, medical student volunteers sifted through stacks of applications to pick the high schooler they would mentor for the school year.

Among the applicants, first-year medical student Ryan Miller, 24, found his protégé Danny Nguyen, 17, a “charismatic” Pennsauken High junior.

Danny’s application stood out, Miller remembered.

The teen was interested in biology after dissecting a frog in his high school class.

“When we started, we talked about med school and the sciences, but then we started talking about the next step and where you want to go,” Miller said.

Nguyen discovered medicine might not be for him. He’s more interested in business than medicine. But the program helped him sort that out.

For Nnenna — a high school junior applying to colleges and deciding what she’ll study — the program introduces her to the medical school environment and adds a bullet point to her college applications.

Her mentor, Guru Shan, a third-year medical student and potential emergency room doctor, has explained his track to becoming a physician.

“I wanted to do [CAMP] as confirmation to me that I want to go to medical school,” Nnenna said.

Reach Carly Q. Romalino at (856) 486-2476 and cromalino@courierpostonline.com. Follow @CarlyQRomalino on Twitter.

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Date Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 09:45
Source URL: Courier-Post