Hollister teen attends medical conference in DC

Aracely Aguilera

Aracely Aguilera, a sophomore from San Benito High School, traveled to Washington, D.C. over the weekend to be a part of the Congress of Future Medical Leaders conference, one of the first conferences of its kind for youths interested in medicine.
Aguilera was nominated by Dr. Connie Mariano, the Medical Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, which sponsored the Congress, to represent San Benito High among 3,500 students invited to attend from around the country.
“The purpose of the conference was to get people to get excited and motivated to become doctors,” Aguilera said in an interview after her trip.
She said what first got her interested in becoming a doctor was when she was six years old and helped her cousin manage his hemophilia, a blood disorder in which blood doesn’t clot normally.
Aguilera, who is 15, said she thought that experience was really interesting.
“When I was little, I would play doctor with everyone,” she said.
She said the conference was “amazing” – and that she met a lot of different people and made connections.
“They set her on fire,” her grandmother Josie Hernandez said.
The conference lasted three days and featured some of the most revered doctors and physicians in the country, including Mariano, who was the chief White House physician for three presidents; Mario Capecchi, a biophysicist who has won the Nobel Prize in Medicine; and others.
“When I met her (Mariano), I was telling her how I liked her speech about how she became a physician in the White House,” Aguilera said.
Hernandez said Aguilera had received the invitation to the Congress in May last year and was selected because of her grades after the Congress asked science teachers from around the country to submit recommendations to the Congress for candidates.
“I want to become an OB/GYN when I get older,” Aguilera said. “I just love babies.”
She is currently volunteering at the Hazel Hawkins MemorialWomen’s Center on Saturdays and went to a camp on hemophilia in June of last year.
“I learned more and more about hemophilia,” she said.
Aguilera said her favorite classes are science and math, and she is a member of the Love Club and Link Crew at San Benito High School.
What’s next for Aguilera?
“I plan on going to UCLA,” she said. “They have a great medical field there.”
Aguilera, who was born and raised in Hollister, said she would come back and work at the women’s center after medical school.
“I just want to help people,” she said.

Leave your comments