When high school senior Alex Yaylayan closes his math and science books for the weekend, his education continues. Yaylayan, along with 31 other high school students are taking part in Medical Explorers, a program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital which offers Chicago-area teens an early look at careers in healthcare.
“Because of Medical Explorers, I plan to pursue a career in medicine when I go to college next year,” said Yaylayan, who has participated in the program for the past three years.
Program participants meet one Saturday a month and participate in a variety of activities such as hands-on workshops, hospital tours and one-on-one meetings with healthcare professionals including physicians and hospital leadership. The Explorers are selected from a number of applicants and are offered a unique, hands-on opportunity that exposes them to a variety of career paths including physicians, nurses and pharmacists, as well as careers in healthcare business administration, financial management, health law and biomedical engineering.
Northwestern Memorial has offered the program for 15 years, and more than 800 students have participated to date. Many of the Explorers have gone on to pursue careers in medicine, including LaToya Fountain, who is now a laboratory technician at the hospital.
“I wouldn’t have known about this line of work or this job opportunity without being a Medical Explorer,” said Fountain. “The program opened my eyes to a career in medicine and has gotten me where I am today.”
Learn more about the Medical Explorers program.