Career night offers inspiration to Girl Scouts interested in health care careers

Career night offers inspiration to Girl Scouts interested in health care careers

girl scouts touring The Breast Center
Breast imaging specialist Wendi Rader, RT, teaches Girl Scouts visiting the Christiana Care Breast Center about mammography equipment. These girls were among 16 members who visited for a career night in December.

On a December evening, 16 girl scouts and their leaders gathered at the Christiana Care Breast Center to be inspired by the knowledge that the field of medicine offers unlimited possibilities for women.

The event was one of a series of informal meetings the scouts offer their teenage members “to expose girls to career opportunities they might not have thought of, and to meet successful women in different fields,’’ said Jennifer Acord, communications and advocacy manager for Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay.

Emily Penman, M.D., associate vice chair of the Department of Surgery, started by asking if any of the scouts were considering a career in medicine. Half a dozen hands shot up.

Health care is challenging and incredibly diverse, Dr. Penman told them. “You can do surgery, radiology, work in the emergency room, work in labs. You can really stretch yourself. There’s not one thing in medicine. There’s a lot you can do,’’ she said. “It’s a lot of work, but the end result is really awesome.’’

The scouts also heard from Kristina Siddall, M.D., a radiologist at the Breast Center; Joanne Antonio, RN, lead nurse at the center and a breast health educator; Renie Mullaney, director of the Breast Center; her assistant Kim Hudson; and imaging experts Terry Smith, lead breast imaging technologist, Wendi Rader, breast imaging specialist, and Meghan Shields, mammography technologist. They described their daily work and the education that brought them to it.

A couple of the scouts wanted to know how much money can be made in medicine, generating laughter from the speakers. Salaries depend on the work itself and the effort and education needed to do it, said Dr. Siddall, but “what’s really important is that you do what you love and you stick with it. You work hard at something and make it your career. Just go with what you really want to do.’’ Dr. Siddall said that she started out in engineering and was working on research to develop artificial cartilage when she was sent to observe surgery on a patient.

“That was it,’’ she said. “I knew I wanted to take care of patients.’’

For Caitlyn Naughton, 17, of Pike Creek, that resonated. She, too, plans to study engineering. “It was interesting to hear how they came from a lot of different backgrounds, so I know there are a lot of possibilities out there for me.’’