An Academic Check-up

By WEEK Producer

August 13, 2012 Updated Aug 13, 2012 at 6:34 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Nowadays, young people who want successful careers are encouraged to do internships, job shadowing, and seek out role models.

To that end, a Peoria Valedictorian, with ambitious goals, is making a job connection with a local Physician.

Going to the Doctor's office is not always a pleasant experience...but this is different. Manual High School Valedictorian Kashmere Atkins is dropping in on a most hospitable Dr. Thembi Conner-Garcia.

Next week, Kashmere heads to Eastern Illinois University as a freshman pre-med major, and is eager to find out what she needs to succeed.

"I've always liked helping people. And my Mom's in the medical field, and my Auntie's in the medical field, so it's kinda in the family," said Kashmere Atkins.

"It's going to be a lot of hours of studying and one thing about Medicine is that it's life long learning. You never stop learning," said Peoria Internist Dr. Thembi Conner-Garcia.

In addition to helping patients and doing federally funded research on health literacy, Dr. Conner-Garcia works in academic medicine, helping to make sure young Medical professionals are aware of cutting edge technology and research.

"We're seeing a lot more female students coming through, college and medical school, completing and going on so that's a positive. Still, in terms of African American students, we're not seeing as much gain but we are there," said Dr. Conner-Garcia.

"I think I am up for the challenge because I've already had like an experience of what a college class are from the classes that I took in my senior year," said Atkins.

"The biggest thing is 'go for it.' study for it, work for it," said Dr. Conner-Garcia. "It's doable, even if you don't know anyone who is a Doctor, if there's no one in your family who's a Doctor, it doesn't matter, you can do it anyway."

An academic checkup from the Doctor to Valedictorian.

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