High School Mentoring Program

Shareefah Stanley was just 14 when her father died of cancer. The impact his death had on her was profound in many ways. Already a good student at Roanoke’s Patrick Henry High School, she set two important goals. One was to push herself even harder academically in high school. The other was to attend medical school and become a doctor.

Four years later, Stanley realized her first goal and graduated among the top students in her senior class. In addition, a recent mentorship with Dr. David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, has reinforced her desire to achieve her second goal.

The school’s mentoring program gives select seniors an opportunity to spend a semester shadowing a physician faculty member. Students spend an allotted number of hours with a mentor learning about what it’s like to be a doctor in the real world.

Over the course of the spring semester of her senior year, Stanley spent 45 hours with Dr. Trinkle and his colleagues at Carilion Clinic’s Center for Healthy Aging, a specialty outpatient clinic that offers services to address the unique needs of older people. She interacted with geriatric patients suffering from such disorders as depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Program participants not only shadow clinically but also participate in the administration of projects at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine so they develop an appreciation for what medical school is like.

“The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s high school mentoring program is for bright, highly motivated students like Shareefah who are thinking about pursuing medicine,” said Dr. David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture. “Our goal is to encourage and support them at a fairly early age, so they’ll be inspired to become successful health care providers in their communities.”