Greatness Awaits!


Kiannah Dole, Photojournalist

From November 14th, 2014 to November 16th, 2014, five thousand high school students – referred to as scholars – from all over the United States attended the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D.C. The Congress of Future Medical Leaders is a program to help students who wish to pursue a career in the medical field to be inspired and well-informed. Lily Rajaee (10) states that, “What I loved most about the Congress was listening to all the influential speakers who have made a difference in science [and medicine]. Their success is what inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field.” Here are some of the influential speakers, their stories, and their main piece of advice; it may have been a conference for future students of medicine, but much of the advice can apply to all of you Mustangs no matter what your career interest is in as well!


Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H.

“Take care of your health.”


According to the acting United States Surgeon General, health is not defined as just being free from a disease. True health is defined as a complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Dr. Lushniak articulates the best available scientific information to promote, protect, and advance the true health and safety of our nation.


Shree Bose

“Follow your passion and make things happen!”


Shree Bose, a 20-year-old student at Harvard University, has a passion for science and research. At age 17, she triumphed over 10,000 competitors to become the grand prize winner of the first-ever Google Science Fair and opened new avenues for research. In her winning research, Shree Bose had discovered a way to counteract the problem of cancer cells growing resistant to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.


Ned Hallowell, M.D.

“Always ask why!”


Dr. Hallowell believes that we should be able to challenge the standard ways of doing things and to not listen to the people who say to “be realistic”. Why do things one way if there is a better way to do it waiting to be discovered? Why not take that extra minute to connect with the people you are with rather than escaping the situation through technology? Why?


Jack Andraka

“People should be able to have access to knowledge.”


Jack Andraka believes this as a breakthrough inventor, scientist, and cancer researcher. He desired for people to have the access to knowledge of whether or not they had pancreatic cancer. Thus, he created a new diagnostic test that is 28 times faster, 26,000 time less expensive, and over 100 times more sensitive than the current diagnostic tests to give people the knowledge they should have. Also, with minor tweaking, Jack Andraka is able to make the test work for detecting ovarian and lung cancer, which will give more people in the world access to knowledge. As human beings, we are highly capable of gaining and giving access to knowledge; so what will you do to increase your knowledge or the knowledge of others?


Sir Richard Roberts, Ph.D.

“You are the future of our country!”

Sir Richard Roberts discussed medicine being need for developing countries and the importance of genetically modified foods in these areas. As scholars attending the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, we are the future of medicine and possibly specializing in helping those of the developing countries as Sir Richard Roberts discusses. However, this also applies to every young individual out there; we have the capability of shaping the future of our country. It doesn’t matter if we are doing it as doctors, engineers, teachers, or any other profession; it is what we do with that profession that will determine what our future will be.


Connie Mariano, M.D., FACP

“The journey is what defines us.”


In life, things don’t happen on accident! Every experience throughout our life journey is meant to occur and define us. Dr. Connie Mariano, for example, was the first military woman in the American history to be appointed White House physician. Through this journey, she was able to grow spiritually and mentally, connect with others who lifted her up and reach her full potential, adopt a positive attitude, and develop who she was; this is what Dr. Connie Mariano encouraged us scholars to do on our journey towards our future.


Carmen Blandin Tarleton

“Life is a choice; don’t choose to be miserable!”


Carmen Tarleton was the recipient of one of the world’s first full face transplants after her estranged husband broke into her home, beat her with a bat, and doused her with industrial strength lye. Before the transplant, she was blind, permanently disfigured, and burns covering more than eighty percent of her body. With months of painful rehab, dozens of surgeries and total dependence for physical and financial care ahead of her, Carmen – like others who were also in miserable situations – had a minute mental decision to make about whether or not she was going to keep a positive attitude. She chose to have a positive attitude, focused on what she wanted, and never gave up even when the times got tough!


Jairek Robbins

“You aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow, so live like it truly is your last day!”


At the end of your life, you will ask yourself: “Did I really live? Did I really love? Did I really matter?” Jairek Robbins emphasizes the idea that you should make the best out of your life and live like it is your last day. There are three things you can do each morning to make it your absolute ideal day! First, you should express your gratitude for a new day, the experiences you have had, the people around you, and whatever else you are grateful for. Second, you should be visualizing your goals and what you will do that day to achieve them or bring you another step closer to achieving it. Third, you should possess the positive and “can-do” energy to bring out the best results for your ideal day.

Overall, during that inspiring weekend, the influential speakers have certainly touched and motivated the hearts, bodies, and minds of those five thousand scholars. One of the sayings that the scholars embraced that weekend was “Greatness awaits”. True for all of us, this saying combined with advice, such as the ones from the speakers, will lead all of us towards our bright future.