This summer, 34 local high schools students spent a month learning what it’s like to work in the medical center at Our Lady of the Lake alongside 7,300 employees as part of a Summer Ambassador Program, a news release said.

The Ambassador Program is for high school students ages 15 to 17 with a potential interest in pursuing a career in health care.

“As a mission-driven organization, we are happy to introduce the next generation of our community to what it’s like to work here at Our Lady of the Lake,” Volunteer Services supervisor Carletha Quincy said.

Ambassadors were exposed to several hands-on patient care areas including surgery, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology and nursing. The students also met team members in non-clinical positions such as information services, administration and dietary.

Dixon Lin, who is a senior this fall at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, is interested in becoming a doctor.

“Each week during the program, we listened to lectures from many people such as surgeons, business directors and residents,” Lin said. “The lectures gave me information I would not have been able to get anywhere else and showed me the daily operations of a hospital and explained the process of becoming a doctor.”

Cathryn McClanahan joined the program with an interest in pediatric oncology. She spent time with child life specialists in the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic in Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. On her first day as an ambassador, McClanahan was asked to play with a 3-year-old cancer patient.

“That helped me reach out more to patients. The most interesting thing I learned was because I was pushed beyond my comfort zone,” she said.