High school athletes choose diverse summer activities to build for their futures
With one school year in the rearview mirror and another quickly approaching, high school athletes have only so much freedom during the summer.
Instead of spending their time playing video games, going to the movies or hanging out with friends, these local athletes are finding ways to help others or build for their futures — from teaching their sports to children to learning about potential professions and more.
-- Katherine Dunn and Glenn Graham
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Leshaia Davis-Johnson, Western volleyball, basketball and softball( Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / June 20, 2013 )
Leshaia Davis-Johnson knew she wanted to be a doctor at an early age, so she is jump-starting her career during her high school summers.
As a MERIT Baltimore scholar, Davis-Johnson is spending her second summer in a local hospital, gaining insight about what it means to be a doctor. She spent last summer at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, shadowing doctors and observing such procedures as a cesarean section birth and brain surgery.
This summer in the Johns Hopkins High School Internship in Brain Science program, the rising senior will spend eight weeks working with Dr. Marco Grados, an associate professor in the division of child and adolescent psychiatry.
"He's going to give tests to children with OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder], and I'm basically going to put those tests in the computer," Davis-Johnson said, "and once a week I¿m going to go to clinicals and interact with doctors and shadow doctors in different departments. And I will get my own white lab coat that says 'Johns Hopkins,' so that's pretty exciting."
The MERIT Baltimore scholar program, which aims to inspire and prepare Baltimore City students to pursue careers in health care, gives Davis-Johnson a look at both the clinical and research sides of medicine.
"Right now, I'm not sure what type of doctor I want to be. Do I want to be a research doctor, researching about diseases, or do I want to do clinical-based medicine? This internship will give me an insight into research. Last year, I got the clinical outlook," said Davis-Johnson, who is leaning toward pediatrics with a specialty in cardiology.
Davis-Johnson, who has a 3.8 GPA, is active in Girl Scouts and is a certified lifeguard. In addition to her internship, she will find time to play Amateur Athletic Union basketball with her Baltimore Charm team over the summer.
"Basketball used to be my biggest passion, but now it's not a passion like medicine," she said. "Medicine is the No. 1 thing I focus on. Basketball is more something I do now to relieve me of my stress and where I can get away from my schoolwork and have fun."