Tianna Lampkin, 17, is a junior at Hendrick Hudson High School who was just awarded the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award of Excellence. We caught up with her as she was prepping to travel to Washington, D.C., for a three-day Congress of Future Medical Leaders, an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go
into medical research fields.
Tell me about your interest in medicine and research. How did you know you wanted to go this field?
I knew that I wanted to get into the medical field went I lost my grandmother from lung cancer. She passed in October 2008, when I was in 6th grade. We would watch TV together when I visited her in the summer. I was younger so I didn’t know much about it but I knew she was sick. She was 70 (when she died). It motivated me to want to study diseases and conditions that are not curable at the moment. So I think me getting invited to participate in this program will help me learn how to be a forensic scientist or pathologist.
What are you expecting to do and see during your D.C. trip this weekend (Feb. 14-16)?
I know that we’re going to have high energy, fun activities, and be making connections with amazing people in the medical field, which is where we want to be. I’m looking forward to the connections with all the other professors and scientists who are enlisted with Harvard and other top-of-the-line medical schools and I’m really looking forward to the (live) surgery we’ll be viewing, which is going to be awesome. I’ve seen videos but never seen a surgery in-person.
A lot of people might get squeamish watching an operation. But not you, huh?
I love science so much. I grew up looking through encyclopedias, wondering about the different parts of the body, and I always wondered what it would look like on the inside. So to me, it’s exciting.
In addition to your excellent grades, which are required to participate in the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, you are active in school clubs, the youth choir and dance group at your church, and you’ve won several other awards recently. How do you juggle your activities and your school work?
I admit, sometimes I do procrastinate, but I take my grades very seriously. I make sacrifices, like on weekends I’ll put aside my favorite TV show and focus on that one subject to get through (an assignment). The accelerated math class I’m in is one where I have to work a little harder.
Describe your life six years from now.
I’m going to college for either biomedical sciences or forensic pathology – using forensics to study diseases and find ways to help patients. I’m on the fence right now about which one I want more. In six years, I’ll hopefully be in medical school or working in a lab alongside a scientist, looking at DNA and cells.