By Ashley Chambers Amya Harris, 15, is bound for success. Holding a 4.2 GPA at Alameda Community Learning Center, the aspiring doctor is driven to level the playing field for young African American women. Following in the footsteps of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the African American doctor who was the first to perform open-heart surgery, Harris wants to become a heart surgeon and start her own clinic. She is determined to make an impact in her community. “I love helping people,” she said. “I want to inspire others, and just bring positivity because I know there are a lot of negative things impacting a lot of people, and I see that.” Harris enrolled in the Youth in Medicine (Y.I.M.) summer program through Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and Samuel Merritt University to study the cardiovascular system. “We would go to the labs and look at skeletons, cadavers, and I was really interested in the heart,” she said. “I thought if I’m interested in doctors, why don’t I just become one.” She has received awards as “Role Model Student” and “Most Likely to Go into the Medical Field.” Harris says being a part of Girls, Inc has also helped prepare her for a career in medicine by learning the skills of public speaking and other college preparatory courses for college. Her curiosity and passion for the medical field led her to create 4 Young Doctors, a website she started with her brother in 2006 featuring tutorials on the heart and human anatomy. Harris encourages people to become more involved in the field with colorful diagrams, video lessons, and important facts about health issues such as strokes and heart attacks. She plans to enroll in the Youth Bridge internship program at Alta Bates. “That’s a big step because now I’m not just going to look or play with the little pieces but actually work at the hospital with the doctors. It’s really great,” she said. On her journey to success, Amya Harris is taking the first steps.
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