Three high school student siblings, Aqib, Nahin and Samin Chowdhury, have ambitions to be in healthcare. As part of a program through the Washoe County School District, these three juniors are working with nurses and other healthcare professionals to see what it’s like to be on the front lines of patient care.
It was 17 years ago – on Christmas Day, to be exact – that Aqib, Nahin and Samin Chowdhury were born at Renown Regional Medical Center. Flash forward to now, and the Chowdhury triplets are walking those same hospital halls and learning the building blocks of what could be their lifelong careers in healthcare.
The three Chowdhurys are members of Washoe County’s Gifted and Talented Education program (GATE). The GATE program runs the entire spectrum of education from grade 3 through 12, but for juniors and seniors, there’s a chance to earn high school credit while volunteering for a local group or business.
All junior students at McQueen High School, the Chowdhurys are good examples of who the GATE program leaders are trying to find in order to boost students’ educations.
“We catch those kids who are ready to take on some additional challenge,” says Melissa LiCon, a GATE internship facilitator for high school. “We want to enhance their educational needs and let them accelerate their education through our internship model, and they are really ready to do that.”
A Great Opportunity
At first, it was just Aqib who was accepted into the GATE program. “He got a letter because his PSAT scores were really high,” Nahin says. “But, Samin and I heard about it through our mom (Shimu Chowdhury) who knew people who are already in the GATE program. So we both asked to be in it and got the applications.”
The three siblings were thrilled to be placed with Renown for their experience in GATE. Aqib and Nahin were already heading toward healthcare for their own life plan, while Samin says,“I might still choose engineering, but now that I’ve been here, I’m 90 percent sure I’m choosing healthcare.”
For one of the Chowdhurys, there’s another benefit to the program. “Growing up, I’ve always been shy,” Nahin says, “and when I heard about a program that helps you get real-world experience, I automatically jumped on it. It’s really helped me to see if the medical field is right for me.”
Students Learn About Healthcare
Nahin was placed in the clinical laboratory, which has helped ease her shyness. “At first, I thought it would be really serious there, not a lot of talking going on. But by the second or third day, everyone was cracking jokes and involving me in the jokes. It’s been a great environment, really friendly,” she says.
In the lab, Nahin has been shadowing lab workers and setting up cultures. “It’s been therapeutic for me, to follow patterns and make sure you are doing everything right. You really get to take your time,” she says.
Samin was placed in an area with more patient interaction: labor and delivery.
“The very first day I walked in and they asked if I wanted to see a birth,” Samin says. “And, I was hesitant, but then I said, ‘Sure.’ It’s been a really cool experience seeing everything they do there, how everyone reacts and how the nurses react with the patients.”
Samin adds that it’s been interesting to see so many varied experiences in labor and delivery. “Every patient, when they give birth, they all have different stories. Every day it’s been a different experience and I love getting to hear the stories of all these people.”
An Amazing Experience
Aqib’s own work in GATE also varies from his sisters. He’s in cardiac telemetry, which he believes is perfect for his ultimate goal of being a cardiologist. “I’ve always been fascinated by the human body and how it works, and I’m not afraid of the sight of blood,” he says.
On his first day, Aqib says he was just taking it all in as he meet the nurses who would be his mentors on the unit. “Soon after that, I started doing stuff.”
He said that working on the unit has been a great experience. “It’s pretty much like all the stories you hear – it’s pretty serious there,” he says. “But, everyone’s been so helpful and nice.”
For her part, LiCon is impressed with Aqib, Nahin and Samin and their drive to learn if a career in healthcare is right for them.
“I think they are really exceptional young people in terms of maturity and their level of empathy,” LiCon says. “In general, they are really aware that healthcare is more of a calling in a way that not all professions are, in providing that emotional support and positive belief in helping people get better. I don’t see that awareness in every student at first, but I definitely see it with those three.”