The senior connected to the program as a delegate of The Congress of Future Medical Leaders
By Allen D. Payton
Brentwood resident Presley Miller, a senior at Freedom High School in Oakley, California recently returned from a two-week summer honors program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with FutureDocs Abroad for high school and undergraduate students who aspire to a career in the medical field.
She was selected for the opportunity through her participation as a delegate to The Congress of Future Medical Leaders, a nationally recognized high school honors program of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. Students must have a minimum 3.5 GPA to qualify. Miller’s GPA is 4.0. She attended the Congress which was held via Zoom in June 2021.
A separate group of students went to Vietnam during the same weeks. Miller chose Tanzania to apply for “because it was in Africa where I’ve never been.”
FutureDocs Abroad is an honors-only program, of the National Leadership Academies, that allows qualified high school students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain real-life experience and access what only third and fourth-year medical students can in the United States. The purpose of this internship is to honor, inspire, motivate, and direct the top students in the country, to stay true to their dream and, after the program, to provide a path, plan, and resources to help them reach their goal.
It puts passionate and qualified students into an intense medical environment overseas, where every single day it allows them an opportunity to experience, now what they’ve only been able to imagine.
FutureDocs Abroad was founded on the belief that strong emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of student success and is committed to supporting students in their development. The National Leadership Academies also recognizes that prospective talent must be identified at the earliest possible age and help must be given to these students to acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of vital careers as leaders and in the fields of medicine and the sciences.
“It was exciting to be able to personally experience international medicine and learn the culture of Tanzania, while creating lifelong friendships and memories!” said Miller. “It was an experience of a lifetime.”
During the program, she joined students from across the US and spent time observing surgeries taking place in the operating room, with the surgeon explaining the procedure as it was being performed. Miller also spent time in the gross anatomy lab with a professor, learning about the anatomy and proper dissection of human cadavers and practicing dissection techniques on animal parts. In addition, she shadowed physicians in the emergency room, clinics, and wards in over a dozen areas of specialty, including pediatrics, oncology, surgery, orthopedics, OB/GYN, and more.
“I got to observe a C-section, cesarean, and watch a baby take his first breath,” Miller shared as her favorite part of the trip. That gave her the desire to focus on “neurosurgery and work in pediatrics.”
One of about 50 students on the trip, she was the only one from Freedom High and encourages other students to participate, as well.
“If you have the opportunity to be a part of The Congress and be able to sign up and be selected to go on this trip, other students should do it. I would do it again, personally,” Miller stated. “If other kids in our area are able to experience this it will be amazing.”
“It took about 30 hours of travel each way,” she shared. “We had to first fly to New York to meet up with the group and fly together from there.”
They landed in Dubai after a 12 or 13-hour flight, followed by a five-hour flight to Tanzania, Miller explained.
“But coming home it was longer due to layovers,” she added.
Asked how she learned about the program she explained, “I got a certificate in the mail from a doctor, Stephen Mitchell, the dean of Georgetown Medical School in May 2021.”
“I was like, ‘what is this?’” Miller said. “It was a selection for the Award of Excellence from the Congress of Future Medical Leaders and an invitation to attend it.”
There’s a fee to participate in the program. “But part of it was covered by a sponsor who paid for everyone,” she shared.
As part of the Congress, Miller did extra course work to earn one college credit. She has also been taking high school courses, more than required, for a degree in medicine.
“I took anatomy and physiology this last year and taking AP biology and chemistry, this year,” Miller shared.
Asked about her college plans, she said, “my goal is to go to UCLA, but I’m open to anything, anywhere for undergraduate school that would be a good connection to medical school, whatever God has planned for me.”
Miller is also a varsity cheerleader at Freedom High and the daughter of Antioch chiropractor, Dr. Lance and Treasure Miller.
Asked if she was inspired by her father being a chiropractor, Miller said, “Yes. Growing up around it and always being in that environment of the medical field.”
She works with her dad and mom in the office during the summer. Miller’s older sister Haley is starting chiropractic college in the fall.
“As a parent, we’re proud of our daughter’s dreams and inspired by her desire to enter the medical field in neurosurgery,” dad, Lance stated. “When she was younger, Presley wanted to find a cure for Alzheimer’s because my Aunt Pam died of it at an early age.”
“We were a little nervous about her going over there in another country for two weeks, but excited at the same time,” he shared. “Thank God for technology because we were able to speak with her every day on WhatsApp and Facetime.”
Presley’s mom, Treasure spoke about the trip and her interest in medicine from early childhood.
“I took her to New York, and we met with the program at JFK airport, then they took her from there to Tanzania. We had to participate in Zoom meetings before she went,” she shared. Presley said they got to New York City two days before and went shopping in Manhattan.
“I’m not sure how they got her information, but I’m sure it was during COVID when the students went online and she was showing her interests in college and they got her information,” Treasure explained.
“She’s always known since she was five that she wanted to be a neurosurgery,” her mom, continued. “I asked, ‘why neurosurgery?’”
“She said ‘you, know, Mom, everyone needs a brain and I’ll never be out of a job,’” Treasure stated.
“I’m extremely proud of her and I know God has a plan for her in her life and has definitely set her up for this,” Presley’s mom, said. “It was very hard for me to let her go to a third world country at 17-years-old. So, I had to really give it to God and pray about it and let her go and trust she would be fine.”
“She was 13 hours ahead,” Treasure stated. “So, when her day was ending my day was starting,” and vice versa,
“I’ve always known since she was very little that God gave her this gift to heal people, kind of like her dad, to heal people with his hands,” she continued. “But she’s going down a different road. They work together. You can’t live without your brain or your spine. She’s a different child, a very old soul, very mature for her age and always has been.”
“She does hard work at it. But she’s very dedicated,” Treasurer added.
About The Congress of Future Medical Leaders
High-achieving and serving high School students are selected to become Delegates of the Congress of Future Medical Leaders by parents, teachers, and other educational avenues. Student Delegates are screened through an application process that includes GPA verification. Academically superior high school students are honored for their dedication, talent, and leadership potential in medicine.
During the Congress, Delegates hear from the world’s leading medical pioneers, groundbreaking researchers, young prodigies who are carving the way for the future of medicine and medical technology, and from patients who have had their lives changed (or saved) by medicine.
The stage is graced by the greatest living minds from different areas of medicine, medical technology and engineering, research, and science—some that Delegates may not know exist! They share insights into who they are, what they do, their successes, failures, and practical advice for Delegates.
For more information, visit www.TheNationalLeadershipAcademies.com or call (888) 986-6563.