In July 12 issue, Russell County NewsBy Derek AaronRussell County News EditorABOVE: The He family, Annie youngest sister, Miao Ming their mom, Nellie, their dad Xiang and middle sister Bonnie.
Usually, the summer after high school graduation is a time to sleep late, hang out with friends and celebrate.
One local college bound teen is spending most of the summer honing her academic skills and exploring possibilities for a future career in medicine.
Nellie He, 2008 Russell County High School graduate, started her summer in Upward Bound a pre-college program at Lindsey Wilson College.
Now she is attending Kentucky’s Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) at the University of Louisville. PEPP, a summer residential workshop, provides academic enrichment and career exploration for graduating high school seniors interested in medicine or dentistry.
“I like helping people,” said He. “I also like science and new medical technology.”
Nellie, the first in her family to attend college, will start classes in the fall at the University of Kentucky as a pre-med student.
“I’m really excited! It’s pressuring sometimes but it’s an honor,” said He. “I’m the first and there’s no one for me to follow after so I have to leave a really good example.”
Already, she is a shining example of accomplishment for her two younger sisters Bonnie and Annie. Nellie graduated high school with a 4.0 grade point average and received several scholarships including the Governor’s Scholars Scholarship.
She is also a member of the National Honor Society, she served as Senior Class President and served in many other clubs.
Being chosen to attend PEPP, is yet another honor and opportunity to excel academically, personally and professionally. Only 25 students from a pool of applicants across Kentucky are selected to participate in the program.
Nellie was selected based on academic performance, a good personal statement, her level of interest in medicine and impressive recommendations.
In the program, she is attending college level courses in science and math at the University of Louisville and observing doctors at work in University Hospital.
So far, she has shadowed a General Practitioner and is thinking of becoming a GP herself.
Since learning about dental school at PEPP, Nellie is also considering becoming an orthodontist.
The path to becoming a doctor can be daunting with a rigorous course load during 7 to 10 years of college and but Nellie believes she is ready.
“I feel like high school prepared me a lot,” said He. “I will enter my first semester of college as a sophomore.”
She says by taking dual credit courses at RCHS, she not only earned high school credit but also college credit for freshman level courses. She also received college credit for courses taken while attending Upward Bound.
Nellie plans to spend the first semester of college focused on studying and maybe get involved in extracurricular activities by the second semester.
“I might participate in student government at UK,” said He. “It’s good leadership experience and you get to meet new people.”
Not only is Nellie the first in her family to go to college but she and her sisters are also first generation Americans.
Her parents, Xiang and Miao Ming He, left China and came to the US in search of a better life and believing in the American dream.
They own and operate China Café in Russell Springs with the help of their daughters.
“My parents are willing to support me through medical school. They have high expectations of me,” said He. “They know I will do well in college. They trust me in that.”
There will be some time to hang out with friends before starting classes at UK in August but Nellie’s summer break will be a short one from July 25, when PEPP ends, until August 17 when she moves into the dorms at UK.