For Cambridge Jones ’22, a biology major on a pre-med track, this summer will be an important step toward a career in medicine. Recently accepted to Howard University School of Medicine’s Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), she will gain early exposure to the medical field. The program offers freshman and sophomore participants the opportunity to take classes typically open to upperclassmen, shadow various positions of interest and prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
After an internship where she shadowed an OB-GYN and an emergency room doctor, Jones was interested in pursuing a similar experience to gain greater insight into her desired role: orthopedic surgeon. Her personal experience inspired this career interest: “I was a gymnast growing up and as a result, I was always exposed to different healthcare professionals. During my time in gymnastics, I suffered an injury and had to visit an orthopedic surgeon. I found myself interested in how engaged the doctor was and their overall sense of professionalism. As my visits continued, I saw the various tasks my doctor performed and thought it was something I might like to do.”
While researching programs and internships to pursue, she noted the importance of early exposure to the medical field: “There are many undergraduate medical programs across the country, but few are for underclassmen. Finding and securing one is important to prepare me for higher-level courses and in deciding what I do and don’t like.” After applying to several, she persisted and followed up with the various coordinators. Knowing many of the programs have small cohorts she is “…always very grateful” when accepted into one.
Her advisor, Dr. Michael Cotton, informed her of Howard University’s program: “He is very helpful, informative and passionate about finding opportunities. It has been great to talk with him not just when I need help, but when positive things are happening in my life.” Excited for SHPEP and her future medical career Jones is thankful for her experience at Bennett, “…the close-knit community and honest support has prepared me to take on the medical field!”
Her advice for her fellow Belles interested in pursuing similar opportunities is to “…keep studying hard and try to get internships; they will give you a better understanding of whether or not this is the right career path for you. Then, once you graduate, you will be on a path for success because you know your career and have built a strong network.”