Throughout the summer, a small team of alumni, students and a science teacher worked tirelessly to organize the first-ever Health Care Career Spotlight event held in October 2016. A panel of seven Punahou graduates working in the health-care field kicked off the symposium with a Q&A session in front of over 200 students, parents and teachers. In the second half of the event, these panelists joined 50 more alumni in hosting breakout groups based on their respective specialties and fields.
Since the age of six, the intricacies of human anatomy – from jigsaw skeletal frameworks and highways of muscular twine to fractal-esque vascular networks – inspired a sense of rhapsodic fascination in me. I have long aspired to be a surgeon, and when I entered the Academy, I embraced all the medical opportunities our school had to offer. And so, when Mrs. Darcy Iams, Academy Science faculty, offered an opportunity to help plan a symposium for health care professionals with her and a group of alumni, I couldn’t have jumped on board faster.
Alyssa Roberts ’17 and I (both officers in the Punahou Surgical Society), along with Kylie Yamauchi ’18, had the great privilege of working with this wonderful team of alumni to host the event. Despite the early-morning meetings and late-night assignments, I think we can all say that even the planning process was stimulating and deeply rewarding in itself. The evening exceeded our already-high expectations as we listened to many of these accomplished physicians, specialists, administrators, medical students and professors express their passion for the boundless and uniquely rewarding medical career opportunities present in our island home. Not only did this enlightening opportunity offer insights into the vast health care sector in our Islands, it also represented a promise to the students for an everlasting, supportive network of influential alumni.
Months earlier, in my junior year, I had participated in a leadership program outside of Punahou. Through numerous interviews with some of our state’s top leaders and innovators, I discovered the horrifying truth regarding Hawai‘i’s plummeting student interest in STEM and dwindling physician workforce. Turning to the classmates around me, I realized there was something we all could do, and decided to establish a medical club at our school: the Punahou Surgical Society. From the very beginning, it was my hope that this group would not only offer exposure and cultivate a shared sense of wonder in the medical field, but also will ultimately inspire a passion for service. Our club has grown to more than 150 members in the past year alone, and we hope that the events we host will continue to foster curiosity and open students’ eyes to new opportunities in our community.
Thanks to the amazing guidance and support by our alumni and teachers, there is no doubt in my mind that after graduation, we will join the ranks of those that came before us, and help to serve and inspire future classes and our community as a whole.