Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 16, 2013

Seventh-graders explore careers at "Real World" event

Eighteen Howard County seventh-graders stared closely at the X-ray Dr. Emily Backer held up to the light.

“You can probably tell what this is,” Backer said Friday.

It’s a shoulder, several students said in unison.

Then, she held up another scan that she said was a little more complicated. It was an MRI of an abdomen.

An MRI shows “slices” through the body, Backer said.

It’s a radiologist’s job to study those scans and look for abnormalities, the doctor said.

“These are pretty hard to interpret,” Backer told the students, as she pointed to the MRI.

Backer, a family practitioner in Kokomo, was one of about 50 presenters at the Welcome to the Real World career event hosted Friday by Indiana University Kokomo and Partners in Education of Howard County.

More than 1,000 Howard County seventh-graders filed in and out of classrooms at the university on their quest to learn more about careers that interest them.

Throughout the day, 110 students listened to Backer’s presentation on doctors and physicians.

Eastern Junior High School student Cameron Graham sat in a desk near the front of Backer’s class and listened as she talked about the different careers and specialties in the medical field.

Every once in a while, he stopped to ask a question.

How much do you make? What’s the best part about your job?

Backer patiently answered the questions.

Most doctors make at least $100,000. Surgeons make at least $200,000 a year. Some of the specialty fields make much more. Backer said doctors are paid well, but that’s not what she likes most.

She said doctors are doing something different every day. It’s interesting, she said.

The job involves problem solving. It’s a great career choice for someone who likes riddles.

“People come in and tell you their symptoms, and you have to piece it together,” she told the students.

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