Brooke Bokon ’22 selected for UConn Health workshop

March 24, 2020

In late February, Brooke Bokon ’22 received a unique opportunity to experience the demands orthopedic surgeons face on the job. 


Bokon and nearly 120 other female high school students attended Inspiring Women in Engineering and Medicine’s workshop at the UConn Health Center on Feb. 22. The day-long program was led by Dr. Katherine Coyner, an orthopedic surgeon at UConn Health and IWEM’s founder. 


As part of the program, Bokon and others were able to get hands-on experience with suturing, arthroscopic knee surgery, and repairing broken bones with screws and plates. 


Bokon was selected to participate in the program by IWEM. She was informed of the opportunity from a friend who attends Cheshire High School and applied to be considered. 


“It was actually a lot of fun,” she said. “They have different types of workshops, too. One is for medicine, and one is for engineering.” 


As part of the workshop, Coyner introduces and educates younger women on the field of orthopedic surgery, which has historically been a male-dominated specialty.  


Bokon, however, has wanted to pursue a medical career for several years. When she was in middle school, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease and has undergone three surgeries as a result. After her most recent procedure in October, Bokon began speaking with a nurse anesthetist, who told Bokon about her job and responsibilities. Bokon was hooked. 


“I’ve been sick my entire life, so I’ve wanted to go into the medical field to give back to people, to put my two cents into it,” reflected Bokon. 


Beyond the three procedures, Bokon and other attendees learned about medical school and the process of receiving a degree, as well as the responsibilities doctors have. A question-and-answer period with Coyner closed out the day. 


“I was able to learn different aspects of the medical field, and how easy and how difficult medical school can be, but what a great experience it is to go through it—which is what I want to do,” Bokon said. “I want to give back to people. Surgeons were telling stories about how they were able to help people, and that inspires me to go into the medical field even more.” 


This summer, Bokon will be attending the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) Medicine at Tufts University (Boston, Massachusetts). The nine-day-long forum will provide Bokon and other attendees chances to speak and learn from doctors, get hands-on experience with medical practices, explore professional opportunities, and more.