When 11th-grade student Julie Elfishawy saw a gap in the education system, she didn’t just bring attention to it. She set about fixing it.
Elfishawy, a student at the Utica Academy for International Studies, has initiated a three-day medical camp for middle school students, after she noticed a lack of hand-on opportunities in the field for those year groups. The camp, called MedExplore
, will run for the first time from February 19 to 21, over the district's mid-winter break.
“I feel that there is a detrimental lack of information available to middle school students regarding the medical field,” Elfishawy says.
“When I was in middle school, I yearned for opportunities to explore what I believed was my passion, and unfortunately found none.”
Elfishawy says she wants to give students exposure to various facets of health care, through engaging activities and a wide range of guest speakers. Participants will also have the chance to select a specialization to explore further and conduct a presentation on.
It was no easy task to set up the camp. Transforming her vision into a reality proved a challenge for Elfishawy.
“It was easy to envision my idea conceptually,” she says. “But it was much more difficult putting it into action—the hundreds of emails I have sent to community leaders, health professionals, local businesses, and medical schools, and the coordination of a detailed schedule, among other important considerations I’ve made throughout the process.”
Utica Academy for International Studies assistant principal Kenneth Voakes says Elfishawy has done a phenomenal job of organizing the event.
"I think this is a great opportunity for middle school students to experience the careers in medicine without having to go to the doctor themselves," Voakes says. "I think this experience will be very valuable to them as they progress through their schooling."
Utica Community School's District Nurse Rebecca Rosbolt says Elfishawy's enthusiasm has been contagious.
"Julie is an intelligent, motivated and passionate student who wants to share her excitement about medicine with others," Rosbolt says.