Moffat County’s MaKala Herndon preps for summer conference in pursuit of medical career |

Moffat County’s MaKala Herndon preps for summer conference in pursuit of medical career

Moffat County High School's MaKala Herndon holds up the credentials she'll use this month during the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Massachusetts.
Andy Bockelman

While some incoming Moffat County High School seniors will be spending a good part of their summer outdoors, MaKala Herndon will utilize part of her break learning in a lecture hall.

And, she couldn’t be happier.

MaKala will serve as a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders from June 23 to 25 in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The event is a multi-day conference for honor students planning to pursue a career in the field of medicine, complete with guest speakers in the industry and academic personnel.

There will be precious little time for sightseeing in New England, though that’s hardly a concern for her.

“I’m really excited to hear from the Nobel Prize winners they’re going to have speaking and how they got to where they went,” MaKala said.

MaKala has set her sights on studying at Duke University with the goal of becoming a biomedical engineer or an anesthesiologist.

“Those are the top two I’m wanting to go into,” she said. “It’s always going to be something new every day, not something boring, new people to meet, new experiences.”

She has already been to Duke for a camp with STEM learning, and she also credited area educators with helping her decide on a career path.

“I’ve had good science teachers that have really influenced me into going into the science field,” she said. “I like everything that goes into it, like figuring out problems and how things work. All that good stuff science entails.”

It was earlier in the spring when MaKala received her admission to the program, for which she was only responsible for travel costs.

MaKala’s nomination letter was signed by Dr. Mario Capecchi, a 2007 Nobel Prize winner for medicine who also serves as the science director for National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. Her nomination was based on “academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine,” according to a news release from the organization.

‘‘This is a crucial time in America when we need more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,’’ said Richard Rossi, founder of NAFPMS, in the release. ‘‘Focused, bright and determined students like MaKala Herndon are our future, and she deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give her.’’

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