Local student attends prestigious medical congress in Washington D.C.

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Recently, one of Cape Coral’s local high school students had the distinction of attending a prestigious program in the nation’s capital.

Ida S. Baker High School Junior Cierra Durrance-Lytle received an invitation to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders that was held in Washington D.C. in February, one she gladly accepted.

The congress attracts students from around the country who are seeking a career in the medical field. During the three-day program students had the opportunity to hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners talk about leading medical research. They also heard from fellow teen medical prodigies, and they were given advice from Ivy League, and top medical school deans on what to expect when they attend medical school.

Cierra and her fellow participants also learned about cutting-edge advances in the future of medicine and medical technology, a part that particularly piqued the interest of the high school student, “We got to see a surgery where the doctor was actually sitting in the corner of the room directing a robot with controllers. It was unbelievable.”

Cierra received the invitation after being nominated by Dr. Connie Mariano, the Medical Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. According to a press release, Dr. Mariano nominated Durrance-Lytle to represent Florida based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine. Currently, Cierra is an honors student in the school’s medical program and is also participating in dual enrollment at Edison State College.

The congress was just the latest step towards what she hopes is a long career as a Medical Examiner, “I have always been interested in the forensics field, particularly on the medical side. This was a great way for me to meet and get to know people my age who share similar interests.”

For her, the career choice to become a Medical Examiner is a combination of interest in the medical field and growing up as the child of police officers. Both of her parents are officers for the Cape Coral Police Department, which has allowed Cierra to get a unique look at the field she has taken an interest in, “It has actually been a mix of growing up with police officer parents and what I saw on TV that first got me interested.”

She says while in the seventh grade, she had the chance to spend a day with the Cape Coral Police forensics department and that is what got the ball rolling, “I studied everything she did. After that, I began researching and took an online forensics science class.”

For Cierra’s mother, Georgeann, while she would not necessarily recommend her daughter follow in her footsteps, the chance to attend the congress to further her interest in a medical career was an opportunity that they could not pass up, “There is not a lot of opportunities for advanced training for high school students locally. I thought it was good exposure for her and would help her solidify what she wants to do in college.”

Armed with an experience of a lifetime, she now goes back to her studies even more determined to pursue her chosen career, “Next year I want to enroll in the Allied Health Program at the school. They are also having another congress in November that I am hoping to attend.”

After that, Cierra says she hopes to attend either the University of South Florida or Florida Atlantic University to begin her road to a medical degree.