Amid a schedule filled to the brim with extracurricular activities, Gilbert’s Williams Field High School freshman Tre’ Bugg will find room for an unexpected trip that could play a prominent role in his future.
Bugg will attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D.C., this month. He’ll do so despite a loaded plate featuring honors classes, three sports — baseball, football and track and field — and volunteer hours at Phoenix Rescue Mission.
“I want to go professional in (football or baseball), but I know school is more important than those two,” he said. “I decided to take a break from all of them and go to D.C.”
The Congress is a three-day event for dedicated high school students to better understand the medical field by interacting with other students. They will listen to experts like 2009 Nobel Prize winner Jack Szostak, 2007 winner Mario Capecchi, Georgetown Dean for Medical Education Stephen Ray Mitchell, as well as younger speakers like prodigy inventor Jack Andraka and Carmen Tarleton, who received the one of the world’s first full-face transplants.
Conference attendees are nominated by their teachers or high school counselors. They must have a 3.5 GPA and pay a fee for acceptance to the conference.
Bugg said his dad started getting emails about the conference, and he said he was, “confused about how they found me.”
He is looking forward to getting a better understanding of what his future may hold and seeing some of the monuments in the district while he is there.
“It gives me a better insight into what’s after high school, rather than what’s during high school,” Bugg said. “I can work harder now so I can have a better future later.”
Both of Bugg’s parents work in close quarters with doctors selling medical devices, which has allowed him to talk to professionals and learn about their experiences.
“I like helping people,” Bugg said. “If I can make a difference in a child’s life and a family’s life, it would mean a lot to me.”
Bugg was born in Orange County, Calif., and moved to Arizona when he was 6, but he hopes to return to his home state to attend Stanford University when he graduates from high school.
“I just want to go to a good college,” he said. “If you major well, you can do whatever you want.”
Michelle Bugg said her son is a driven student with a natural inclination towards math, science and athletics.
“His first choice (in careers) would be to play for the NFL, but he is aware that those numbers are quite slim,” Michelle said. “So he is prepared with a backup plan.”
Aside from pediatrics and professional sports, Bugg may decide to go into sports journalism or marketing, which are paths he is exploring through classes at Williams Field.
Michelle said her son gives his best to everything he is involved in, whether it is track, football, baseball, school or volunteering.
“He’s just trying to be the best person he can be,” she said.
• Shelby Slade is a sophomore at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.