SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Seniors at an Oak Park high school took a field trip to UC Davis Medical Center, recounting their potential careers in medicine.

Rachel Segundo was deepening her surgical skills. This senior from Sacramento Charter High School is heading to Sacramento State, hoping to enter the medical field.

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“I want to be a gynecologist,” she said. “I’ve always loved learning about the body, and I’m a woman and I’ve loved learning about my own body.”

This hands-on experience was led by head and neck surgeons and hospital residents.

Steven Dennis is a fifth-year resident who says motivation and drive make a great surgeon, but so does creativity.

“There are so many different variables, so many different shades for each person,” Dennis said. “And we do a lot of surgeries that improve quality of life, bring back quality of life, so you have to tailor the surgery to the person and what’s important to them.”

Dennis added: “So if we’re just fixing a broken jaw – say after an accident – it’s usually a 2-3 hour surgery.”

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Nearby, Dr. Andrew Birkeland worked with students Josh and Lamont.

Not all students are interested in medicine, but screwing metal plates into models of skulls helps them better understand what it takes.

“Sometimes in our cancer surgeries, if we remove parts of the jawbone – removing the lymph nodes from the neck, then borrowing parts from other parts of the body to rebuild the jawbone, then putting the plate on – it’s It’s roughly a 10 to 14 hour operation,” Birkeland said.

Segundo was soaking up the learning experience.

“I like to be practical. It was awesome. I kinda like it,” she said.

Segundo was excited to have the opportunity to partner with some of the best and bring other students into the healthcare industry just like her. Hispanics make up less than 6% of physicians. Blacks, less than five.

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This was the second of such field trips with this high school. UC Davis Medical Center hopes to make it a tradition every year.

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