For the first time since 2019, UConn Health hosted its annual Doctors Academy program’s closing ceremony in-person on May 17 for its Greater Hartford middle school, high school, and college-bound students.
Mark Manson, 17, of Bloomfield was one of the several talented local high school seniors graduating from this year’s Senior Doctors Academy and honored for their health science achievements.
Thanks to UConn Health Doctors Academy program and its strong mentorship Manson’s dream of becoming a future doctor are coming true.
“I have wanted to be a doctor since I was four!” exclaims Manson, a senior at Bloomfield High School, who applied and was accepted to join the Doctors Academy in the summer of his ninth grade.
The Doctors Academy is an intense program with the students attending classes on Saturdays during the school year and also a six-week enrichment academy over the summer focusing on pre-calculus, calculus, biology, physics, anatomy, physiology, and writing.
Now Manson has been accepted into both the University of Connecticut and its UConn School of Medicine for its specialized program in medicine. Over the next eight years Manson will have the opportunity to pursue his dual degree of Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering as well as his medical doctorate (MD).
Manson is really looking forward to becoming a UConn Husky.
“I can’t wait! I am so excited for the special program. This program will allow me to become a doctor faster. UConn is close to home and has an amazing medical program. The HCOP program helped me with this amazing opportunity. I’m interested to see what I can learn in bioengineering and how I can apply it to what I want to do in medicine so I can understand the innerworkings of technology that I can use in medicine.”
And Manson is on a personal mission to help other people.
“I was a sick child,” shared Manson who as a young child suffered from and beat the low white blood cell condition known as neutropenia. “If I got sick, even a common cold, I had to go to the hospital. The reason I have wanted to become a doctor is because of all the doctors and nurses who always tried to keep my hopes up. I remember the small gestures that they did, and I want to give back!
Manson added: “I have a future of helping other people.”
Doctors Academy is one of the programs within the Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI) of UConn Health’s Health Career Opportunity Programs. For more than two decades the successful programs, founded and directed by Dr. Marja Hurley the UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, have built a continuous pathway for Connecticut’s youth of all backgrounds looking to realize their dream of becoming future doctors, dentists, and health professionals.
“Because of this UConn Health program I was able to go into more advanced classes at high school,” says Manson. “The program’s mentoring was great because it gave me an insight into the different medical specialties I could go into too.”
He especially enjoyed how the program taught him some clinical skills such as how to take his own blood pressure manually and even exposed him to the research world.
“I loved the most the research program,” Manson says. “I got the feel of a research lab and how they are working to help improve myocardial infarction. I may want to become a physician-scientist someday.”
The Manson family is excited to join the UConn family too.
“It was between two colleges, and they were all for UConn! They are big fans of UConn,” says Manson. “This is one of the best opportunities. I am going to be the first doctor in my family. I started a trend in my family. Some of my younger cousins now want to be doctors. I started a renaissance.”
Manson also wants other young people like him to follow their career dreams. He recommends middle school students interested in pursuing careers in medicine or science apply by eighth grade to the HCOP program.
“Apply to everything you can early – and don’t change your goals just because someone ever tells you that you can’t.”
And Manson is already thinking of his career plans after medical school.
“Right now I want to go into cardiology,” he says as he is fascinated by the interworking of the heart and tackling the world’s increased prevalence of heart disease.
The Senior Doctors Academy students like Manson received white coats as part of their graduation from the program and several also received John & Valerie Rowe Health Professions Scholarship Awards, Plessy Awards, and Doctors Academy Recognition Awards that honored both the students and their families for their achievements.
Congratulations to this year’s nearly sixty middle school and high school students completing academic programs in the Health Career Opportunity Programs. The closing ceremony’s keynote address was delivered by Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Esq., a noted employment lawyer and UConn Health Board of Directors member.
This year’s celebrated Senior Doctors Academy high school graduates and their college destinations include:
|Senior Doctors Academy 2022-2023|
|Duke Addy||Farmington High School||Saint Anselm College|
|Yusur Al Lami||Hall High School||University of Connecticut|
|Shahd Ali||Hall High School||University of Connecticut|
|Jabez Boyd||Bloomfield High School||University of Connecticut|
|Gabriel Garcia||Conard High School||Central Connecticut State University|
|Travon Hardy||Windsor High School||Western Connecticut State University|
|Mark Manson||Bloomfield High School||University of Connecticut|
|Shazia Syed||Academy of Science and Innovation||University of Connecticut|
Learn more about the Health Career Opportunity Programs at UConn Health.