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Raising the bar for urban youth

Rochester, N.Y. - Hundreds of young students received valuable experience on Saturday that will help clear a path for their futures.

It was part of Raising the Bar, an event held at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The program's goal is to reach out to area youth.

"I think it's really important that when you reach a certain level that you always reach back and make sure that others are joining you," keynote speaker Dr. Hilda Hutcherson said.

That's exactly what Dr. Hutcherson is doing.

An accomplished physician, educator and author now, but that wasn't always her story.

"I grew up very poor in Alabama," Dr. Hutcherson said.

It's her message of hard work and a can-do attitude, she hopes will inspire others.

"So often our young people think they can't. That they can't be successful and they can't achieve and having someone who looks like them, who can give a story of coming from poverty and achieving something really amazing - it's helpful," said Dr. Hutcherson.

Passing the torch to those who can help encourage others like Kristina Warner, a 2nd year student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Warner will be the first in her family to pursue a medical profession.

She's one of many working with hundreds of high school and college students in labs conducting basic procedures at Saturday's conference.

"Exposure is definitely key," Warner said. "A lot of these students are probably entertaining going into careers in medicine but don't really know what it will entail and so we want to make sure they have firsthand exposure to what the profession requires."

A valuable experience for students like Rochester Academy Charter School junior Chazzea Campbel; who's dreamed of becoming a doctor since she was nine years old.

"It's been really awesome. I've never held a liver and had to suture anything so it's nice to know I can do all those things," said Campbel.

Past participants of the conference have gone on to medical schools and programs across the nation.

The hope is to draw that talent back to Rochester.

 
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