WCCC junior excelling in health field

John Fankhouser has known since the age of nine that he was going to be an anesthesiologist.

The Warren County Career Center student and resident of Warren said his interest in the ability to prepare patients for medical interventions came to him in second grade.

“I cut my thumb open,” said Fankhouser, who added that he wound up needing stitches for the injury. When the nurse injected his thumb with a numbing agent prior to suturing the cut, he said, “I became fascinated with anesthesia.”

In fourth grade, “I just got off the bus one day and I remember thinking, ‘I want to be the person who puts people to sleep before surgery,'” he said.

Fankhouser, a wrestler at Warren Area High School in his junior year, said that getting involved with the Health and Medical Assisting (HMA) program at the Career Center was simply the natural progression of pursuing that goal.

Not a lot of male students enter the medical program at the career center, said WCCC Principal Jim Evers.

Fankhouser is one of a handful of what the career center refers to as “nontraditional students.”

Girls who go into programs like welding or autobody, or boys who go into HMA or accounting, are examples of nontraditional students. For the most part, certain industries are still predominately populated by either males or females, and the goal is to make sure that students with an interest in a field that’s traditionally not been “for” their gender know that it’s for them at the career center, and that they’re every bit as entitled to the opportunities in those fields once they enter the workforce as well.

Fankhouser said the HMA program at the Career Center has been more or less what he expected, and that he’s excited about what he’s learned, and also about what’s open to him in the near future; including an opportunity to job shadow with anesthesiologists at Warren General Hospital.

Any Career Center student has the opportunity to take advantage of the job shadow program that’s provided through Warren Forest Hi-Ed.

Fankhouser said that he’s put some thought into how he’ll maintain that forward momentum after graduation. His plan is to go to Clarion University to enroll in their pre-med degree program before going on to, he hopes, the University of North Carolina for its medical program. For his residency, he has no preference.

“Wherever I’m accepted,” he said.

“It’s been an excellent opportunity to expand my knowledge before college, and to get a head start on my post-high school education,” Fankhouser said of the HMA program at the Warren County Career Center.