Aidan Hannon has his sights on a career in medicine — and his resolve has only been strengthened in the wake of his participation in a very prestigious event.
This summer, the 16-year-old Old Forge High School junior attended the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston. There, he and other high-achieving young people had the chance to hear from and meet with some of the most innovative minds in modern medicine.
Old Forge High School Principal Christopher Gatto recently presented Hannon with his Award of Excellence from the Congress.
“It definitely changed my views on medicine and made me want to keep pursuing it,” said Hannon, noting he went into the conference interested in a career as a primary-care physician, but left it more intent on focusing on the research end of medicine.
“I’ve always just liked the sciences and helping people in any way that I can,” he continued. “Science just fascinates me.”
Hannon was in good company at the Congress: about 2,000 high school students from throughout North America attended. For admittance, all of them had to possess the following: an interest in becoming a physician, scientist or technologist; the potential for leadership; and a GPA of 3.5 or above.
At the conference, Hannon got to meet and hear from a Who’s Who of notables in the medical community, including: Paul B. Rothman, M.D., dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; George Church, Ph.D., professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT; Don W. Cleveland, Ph.D., 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences winner and professor at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; and Michael S. Brown, M.D., winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine and recipient of the National Medal of Science.
In addition, the Congress featured several young up-and-comers, among them Jack Andraka, 2012 Intel Science and Engineering Fair Grand Prize winner, and Shree Bose, 2011 Google Science Fair grand prize winner.
“All fields of medicine were represented, from doctors doing skin transplants to genetic modification. You could tell they were truly engulfed in their work and want to help people,” said Hannon, the son of April and Eugene Hannon. “The speakers all explained what they were doing, and all the things we could be doing in the future to advance medicine. … I met some extremely intelligent people and felt extremely honored to be with them. I made some good connections.”
And it wasn’t just speeches and networking. At one point during the Congress, Hannon had the chance to watch a live robotic surgery.
“I learned a lot there,” he said. “Robotics really increases the chances for success.”
Hannon maintains a 3.8 GPA at Old Forge. Not surprisingly, his favorite subjects are physics and chemistry. Meanwhile, he’s involved in plenty of extracurriculars, including the cross country team, math club, Leo club and the trout club.
Through the Congress, Hannon will have the opportunity to apply for a number of scholarships when college gets closer. He’s grateful for that, and for the experience itself.
“I would say that for anyone who’s interested in a career in medicine, it’s definitely a must do,” he said.
For more information on the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, visit
Aidan Hannon shows off his award of excellence.