Linking Passion, Education & Career
Becoming a doctor may take more than a decade, but did you know that the experts teaching surgeons how to use state-of-the-art medical devices only need a bachelor's degree? This was an eye-opening fact for the Vital Link academy students who toured the Edwards Lifesciences campus this summer and met with leaders across all business functions, from accounting and marketing to engineering and operations. At its core, this is what the Orange County-based nonprofit does: provides a link between education and industry. And takes kids out of the classroom for career exploration opportunities. "If I knew that a medical device career was an option, I might not have dropped out of science!" says April Barnes, president of Vital Link. All jokes aside, April did end up launching her career in a hospital - though not how she once imagined. Growing up in a working-class community in Philadelphia, she had her heart set on getting out of town. Her solution: enrolling as pre-med at a liberal arts college in Allentown, Pennsylvania. "To make money, you had to be a doctor," she says, explaining her logic as a teen. "But organic chemistry broke my brain, and I was like, 'Now what?"' Read more.