Jonathan Riddle and the future of medicine

By Andrea Camarena

Growing up, Jonathan Riddle remembers kids coming to him with their problems. And for as long as he can remember, he was always doing anything he could to help them.

Now, approaching his senior year of high school in Exeter, Riddle is preparing for college and the rest of his life. He is still looking for ways to help people. He's preparing to study pre med in his undergraduate work, then medical school, and ultimately, he's aiming to become an Orthopedic Surgery.

As one of his first steps on the path to being an orthopedic surgeon, Riddle was recommended to the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) to attend a forum on Medical Careers in New Orleans, LA.

Teachers from Exeter Union High School's science department nominated Riddle for the NYLF conference because of his performances in advanced biology and chemistry as well as his future plans of going in into the medical field.

WIth a 3.5 GPA, Riddle is an honor athlete on the football team and the president of the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The Conference Riddle attends in Louisiana will host 350 high school students from July 5-14. Throughout which the NYLF will introduce students to a variety of concepts in public health, medical ethics, research and general practice. The forum will include site visits to medical facilities and clinics where students will have the opportunity to participate in simulation exercises using problem-based learning.

"I want to learn a lot about different fields, new technology and new studies," Riddle said of the upcoming forum. "It's a big learning experience."

Riddle's goal is to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon. As a football player, he's had his share of dealing with orthopedic surgeons. He's fractured both wrists, a vertebrae and currently has a screw in his left ring finger. Seeing his surgeons at work has left Riddle looking to specialize in the spine.

"My orthopedic surgeons have always been the jock type," Riddle said. "but when they get into surgery, they get serious."

Riddle is impressed with what he has seen in the way of orthopedic surgery and enjoys that their procedures are the most intricate next to those of a neural surgeon.

While at the NYLF, Riddle may get the chance to rub elbows with some of the top surgeons and medical professionals in the country. Students will shadow key personnel with the opportunity to gain a behind the scenes perspective on a medical career. Throughout the forum, Riddle will make personal contact with physicians, surgeons, researchers, scientists and medical educators and will even be allowed to watch them work.

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