This story appears in the Graduation 2019 special section.
Felicia Ling knew she wanted to be a physician even before she joined Lambert High School’s HOSA club, an organization that promotes careers in the health care industry. She had been leaning toward pediatrics, mostly because she loves children, she said.
Ling’s future became much clearer after an internship at Northside Hospital Forsyth this school year.
Out of 100 applicants, the Lambert senior was one of 30 who were accepted for the three-month internship. She spent three months in the hospital’s Women’s Center and rotated between its labor and delivery, postpartum and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) departments.
“It was so eye-opening,” Ling said.
The NICU made the biggest impression on Ling. Her role was fairly hands-off — she mostly shadowed doctors, nurses and technicians and gave crying babies pacifiers or helped change beds — but Ling was moved by the journey the babies made to full health.
The experience crystallized for Ling her plans for the next several years. She’ll attend the University of Georgia in the fall and major in public health and then enter the Peace Corps after graduation. Ling hopes her experience in Peace Corps will lead to international work for a while, but when she’s ready to “settle down,” Ling wants to go to med school and become a neonatologist and work with premature babies.
“I just fell in love with the idea of giving someone a second chance almost when they didn’t have it,” Ling said. “They came into this world with so many challenges that they didn’t ask for.”
Ling added: “They’re the next generation of people, so we have to do everything we can to protect those young kids.”
Aside from HOSA, Ling was involved in a variety of things at Lambert. She lettered four years in track and field, competing in five different events, and played flute in the marching band, including the past two years as section leader.
Between all three, Ling gained an appreciation for working with others and connecting with people in a genuine way, she said.
“The school’s filled with 3,000 students, and it’s easy for you to feel alone,” Ling said. “... The biggest thing is making connections, learning to talk to other people deeper than a, ‘Hello, how are you?’ There’s 3,000 stories in this school.”