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Valley Forge students attend exclusive national conference on medicine during summer

Gabriel Papke and Danielle Corrigan November 11, 2019


Valley Forge High School students Danielle Corrigan and Gabriel Papke both have a passion for medicine.


So much so, Papke and Corrigan attended the 2019 Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts this summer.


Hosted by the National Academy of Future Physicians, this exclusive program brought together some of the brightest students from across the country who want to study medicine.


The three-day conference featured notable keynote speakers, networking opportunities, hands-on activities, and even the chance to watch live surgery and ask questions as the surgeon performed the procedure.


Papke, a senior in the Medical Career Tech program, and Corrigan, a junior already enrolled part-time at Tri-C, both said the experience was one they knew they had to take advantage of.


“It was amazing, probably the best three days I have ever experienced,” Corrigan expressed. “For people who really like the medical field, Boston is known for that and I was extremely excited. It was amazing being able to hear from Nobel Prize winners, big-time surgeons and other medical professionals. There were so many people, but you felt known and connected with everyone. The stories and messages shared were very touching.”


“The congress is strictly for honors students, which makes me feel accomplished, distinguished and strong-willed,” Papke described. “Overall, my most impactful takeaway was the value of humanity. I learned so much about life, its worth and its preservation. I learned from first-hand patients, who have experienced pure misery, how a person should be treated and the impact that it can leave.”


Both students were nominated to attend. They aren’t sure who nominated them, but they are grateful for the opportunity.


“My favorite part of the congress was taking the Hippocratic Oath,” Papke shared. “This oath is traditionally taken when you graduate from medical school and entails pledging to uphold an ethical set of standards to yourself and your patients. When I took this oath, I felt as if I was heading in the right direction in terms of my future and the outstanding impact I wish to leave behind.”


Corrigan said the live surgery experience was one she will never forget, especially since she is thinking about becoming a trauma surgeon.


“The surgery was a partial knee placement,” she explained. “It was so fascinating. There were microphones in the operating room and people had really good questions while they were performing the surgery. They also went step by step through it.”


Papke is interested in pursuing a career in neuropsychiatry, and said as soon as he got the invite, he knew he had to attend because “it sounded like everything was everything I am for – science, medicine, socialization and collaboration.”


“Neuropsychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry that focuses on Psychiatric disorders caused by underlying neurological issues,” he added. “I am currently applying for my first step in this process, which is an undergraduate degree in biology and pre-medicine. After that, I plan to pursue medical school and residency, leading to my dream career. My ideal location of study and practice is in Arizona.”


Corrigan’s dream is to attend Harvard Medical School and plans to study radiology at Tri-C as a base, which will help her pay for undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is also considering undergraduate at Cleveland State University and medical school at Ohio State University.


She will be participating in the FutureDocs Program, a two-week medical internship abroad next summer, as well.


“The whole conference was inspiring, and you can honestly follow your dreams,” she shared. “You can do anything you set your mind to was basically the message they shared. They just really wanted the best for us. It taught me to be who I want to be.”


PHOTO CAPTION:  Valley Forge students Gabriel Papke, left, and Danielle Corrigan, right, attended the 2019 Congress of Future Medical Leaders conference in Boston this summer. The trip provided invaluable activities to help advance both of their future medical careers.