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Northwest Cabarrus Sophomore selected for Congress of Future Medical Leaders
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Northwest Cabarrus Sophomore selected for Congress of Future Medical Leaders

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Northwest Cabarrus sophomore Ava Torres has been selected as a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders on June 26 and 27.

The Congress of Future Medical Leaders is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. A nominee must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists was founded on the belief that future prospective medical talent at the earliest possible age needs to be identified so they can help students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of this vital career. Based in Washington, D.C., and with offices in Boston, the academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to the service of humanity as physicians and medical scientists.

Torres’ mother, Beth, a teacher at the J.N. Fries Middle School STEM magnet program, encouraged Ava — who was a student there from sixth to eighth grade — to study hard and accomplish her goals.

“I am very proud of the path that Ava is pursuing and can’t wait to see what her future holds,” Beth Torres said in a phone call Friday.

Ava Torres wants to go into the nursing field and work in labor and delivery. She was introduced to the field when she was part of the J.N. Fries STEM Program. Since then, her interest has sparked, and with only one year left before she has to make a decision on her future, getting the opportunity to participate in this event was a welcome surprise.

“I was very excited,” she said in a phone call Thursday. “I got it in the mail, and I was just elated. I was very excited.”

Torres was nominated locally for the honor, and her nomination was signed by Dr. Mario Capecchi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and the science director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists.

She is part of the Health Sciences program at Northwest Cabarrus High School, which she had to sign up for several years ago. Every school in the district has a similar academy set up, such as Information Technology at Cox Mill, Engineering and Automation at J.M. Robinson, and Public Safety at Concord.

Students wanting to participate can apply from anywhere in the district and attend the high school hosting the programs. Torres’ brother is graduating from Hickory Ridge this year from the Hospitality and Tourism program.

“I think it’s very beneficial if you’re interested in a certain career, and if you can get yourself to one of these schools, then you should get into one of these academies,” Ava’s father, Gene, said in Thursday’s phone call.

Ava will be part of the event in June along with several thousand aspiring medical professionals. Attendees will hear from Nobel laureates and National Medal of Science winners during the two-day Congress, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers will give advice on what to expect in medical school as well as tell stories about patients who are “living medical miracles.” Participants will also learn about cutting-edge advances in the future of medicine and medical technology.

“I’m looking forward to working with other people,” Ava said. “And just connecting and networking with people and to figure out a path that works best for me.”

Students who attend the Congress will be offered free services. Some of the services are presented via online social networks through which future doctors and medical scientists can communicate. There will be opportunities to be guided and mentored by physicians or medical students as well.

Torres said she hopes to either go to UNC Chapel Hill or East Carolina for college, but hopefully East Carolina due to the level of their nursing program.

“I’ve been thinking about this field for a while,” she said. “I’m currently at Northwest Cabarrus in the Medical Academy pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse. It’s just been an interest of mine, and I want to learn as much as I can.”

Her father and mother are just as excited as she is for the nomination and can’t wait to see what she does with her future.

“I’m very proud,” Ava’s father said. “She’s in the top of her class, and she’s knocking it out.”

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