STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Menchville Junior Andrea Santos

Interest in healthcare led to start of new club

Posted: February 16, 2024

Andrea Santos is sharing her passion for healthcare with other students through establishment of a club to explore the topic.

Santos, a junior at Menchville High School, was always drawn to the STEM fields and in childhood thought she wanted to be a nurse. After exploring science, technology, engineering and math further, she honed in on healthcare and volunteered at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters last summer and currently at Riverside Regional Medical Center and Planned Parenthood.

"I started my own club about healthcare advocacy because it's really important to me," Santos said.

Her academic strength and interest in math and science led her to healthcare advocacy and wanting to become a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. She established HEAL - Health Education Advocacy League - at Menchville.

"What we do is every month we research a specific healthcare topic, anything from disabilities, mental health, just regular diseases and certain conditions," Santos said.

The group explored breast cancer in October, dementia in November/December, schizophrenia in January and leukemia in February. Each month, they publish a brief article and have a speaker working in the healthcare field come in and discuss their area of expertise and career.

Santos also is in Menchville's Youth Volunteer Corps Club, which mentors students at B.C. Charles Elementary School during visits where the high school students read books and organize STEM projects for the fifth graders to do.

She participates in the school's academic team, enjoys watching "Jeopardy" with her friends, baking and keeping up with friends in several localities she has lived in previously. This month Santos was asked to be a speaker when Menchville students visited a middle school to assist with their transition to high school next year.

Though unsure she'd find a reason to stick with it, she joined Model United Nations last year. It helped improve her public speaking skills and become more open as a person, she said.

"You can really make school a more enjoyable experience for yourself if you decide to pursue and cultivate the things you're interested in," Santos said. "It's definitely important to get involved earlier and another big thing is really giving back to the community. I'm very much into volunteer work. If there's not something you're interested in, I'd say just try a bunch of things until you find something that sticks."