NEWTON GROVE — With goals of becoming a doctor in the future, McKenzie Grady was excited and honored to be around some of the “greatest living minds in medicine.”
During the summer, Grady, a junior from Midway High School (MHS), was nominated to represent North Carolina at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston. Organized by the Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientist, she enjoyed the experience, which taught her a lot.
“I wanted to become a doctor every since I was little,” Grady said. “This gave me the opportunity to explore the different types of physicians, processes and other medical advances.”
With other selected students, she watched live surgeries and questioned the surgeons in the process. In addition to medical doctors, Grady and other students also interacted with medical school academic leaders and new prodigies such as Olivia Hallisey, a 2015 Google Science Fair Grand Prize Winner.
“We listened to them and they gave us advice about how to advance in the careers that we want to have,” Grady said.
After medical school, Grady said she would like to be a surgeon, to offer aid to others.
“I always wanted to help people,” Grady said while talking about her father, Daryl, who served with the Clinton Police Department. “He made me want to help others and being a physician will allow me to do that.”
The Sampson County native is involved in several activities at MHS. Some of them include Beta Club, Key Club, Duke Talent Identification Program, The Society of Torch & Laurel and the National Society of High School Scholars.
She plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for undergraduate studies and Duke University or Vanderbilt University for medical school. Before graduation, Grady plans to return to the academy as an alumna of the academy. She also nominated a student to attend next year and thanked everyone and a her parents, Daryl and Tammy, for helping her along the way.
At the beginning of the school year, MHS Principal Monty Strickland received the Award of Excellence for her completion of the Congress, which was presented to Grady for her accomplishment. It award was attached to a letter written by Drs. Robert Darling and John C. Mather. Darling is the National Academy Medical Director and served as the White House physician to the President of the United States from 1996 to 1999. He was also the director of the Navy Medicine Office of Homeland Security from 2004 through 2006.
Mather is the National Academy Science Director and won a 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics.
“McKenzie was surrounded by many fellow high school students who share her passion, ability and potential,” they stated. “So many Delegates found new friends to help them reach their dreams and future colleagues to collaborate with.”
Strickland also praised Grady for her accomplishment and described her as a quiet leader.
“This is a great opportunity for her and I think it has allowed her to see that something that she wants to do,” he said about her medical career goals. “I’m just glad that our teachers can reach out and see the potential in students, which is the the case here. Hopefully she’ll follow through so her dreams will come true in the medial field.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.