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Youth Pursue Careers in Medical Field

Left to right: Bekka Zak, M.D., Natalia Maani, M.D., and Robert B. Lefkowitz, M.D. (Photo courtesy of Future Leaders of America, Inc.)

Medical professionals from Ventura County gathered on May 31, to present career seminars for students of Future Leaders of America. Career seminar organizer Peter Martinez, welcomed 60 high school and community college students. Doctor Robert B. Lefkowitz, Director of OB/GYN at Ventura County Medical Center, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Lefkowitz encouraged students to take personal responsibility for their health, education and careers.

These career seminars are part of a larger youth initiative strategy to build young leaders in Ventura County. Future Leaders of America’s goal is to build career pathways as early as possible for youth. Gabriela Rodriguez, Executive Director of Future Leaders of America stated, “As a youth leadership development organization, Future Leaders wants to inspire youth to become leaders in the medical field and open doors of new opportunities for generations to follow.”

Pictured (l. to r.) Student Belinda Garcia, Cynthia Lopez, Medical Assistant Trainer at Center for Employment Training and student Melissa Cantu (Photo courtesy of Future Leaders of America, Inc.)

Presenters included representatives from the Ventura County Medical Center, Ventura County Mental Health Services and from private practices as well. Students were able to interact with presenters. One student, Celeste Andrade from Pacifica High School, said what he really liked about the career seminar was, “Being able to meet real doctors and nurses and hearing their stories on how they achieved their dreams of being in the medical field. I especially enjoyed the mini-first aid class on how to be a first respondent in case of an emergency and how to possibly save someone’s life with basic CPR.” Hueneme High School student Ivan Camacho said, “Knowing that these doctors are real people with similar experiences like me, inspired me and motivated me to reach for my goals; just like me, they dreamed of becoming a doctor some day.”

Oxnard High School 11th grade student Anisa Ayala shared that she had been empowered by the seminar. “I can be a positive influence in my community. I can help an individual or family members by healing or comforting them, or by helping them manage their health. This seminar opened my eyes to help me see how I too can reach my full potential.”

As part of the class experience, participants were informed of the required education and skills needed for specific professions. In addition, they were also exposed to different career choices and were informed of the daily tasks and duties of specific jobs.

The seminars featured a wide array of careers including business, criminal justice, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), amongst others. The employment readiness training focused on education, job readiness and personal development. All participants engaged in discussions and interactive activities that build self-esteem and character. At the end of day, students were invited to connect with a professional for mentorship. They will also have the opportunity to visit the presenters at their workplace.

The next career seminar will focus on careers in the arts and will take place Saturday, June 28, at the Center for Educational Training (C.E.T.), 741 S. C Street, Oxnard, CA, 93030. Admission is free. For questions, please call Gabriela Rodriguez at (805) 642-6208 or email:

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