Graves County teen Ethan Barnett aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon one day — perhaps specializing in shoulder injuries — and it’s a field that caught his interest early.
“Just because my family’s had a lot of medical issues revolving (around) like bone and bone joint problems and stuff like that, so, going to their appointments and watching how they developed and how they got better — just really got my interest into it,” he said.
It’s an area that Barnett is a little familiar with, as his mother, Vanessa Barnett, works in the physical therapy field. He’s explored a medical career by taking part in the University of Kentucky Area Health Education Center medical camp after junior year and shadowed an orthopedic surgeon in Paducah.
“I got to shadow doctors and go to biology class and chemistry class and physics class and it was just a big medical camp seeing what it’s like in that field,” Barnett said. “I got to shadow the ER, pediatric oncologist, dentistry and some orthopedic doctors. That really, really like confirmed my idea of wanting to go into that field.”
Barnett said it surprised him to see how connected the medical community is and how they work together toward one goal, like most organizations.
The 18-year-old St. Mary High School senior wants to attend the University of Notre Dame near South Bend, Indiana, for undergraduate study and continue his Catholic education. He’d then like to apply for medical school. He’s interested in UK for that and also for undergrad.
“I’ve gone to a Catholic school all my life and I kind of like that idea and then when I toured the campus, it was one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said, of Notre Dame. “The fact that Notre Dame has a big focus on tradition and just the whole atmosphere — I just felt at home there.”
Barnett, son of John and Vanessa Barnett of Water Valley, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes feature stories on area high school seniors chosen from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week consideration. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee chooses one of these students to be Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Barnett has earned a cumulative weighted GPA above 4.0 at St. Mary. He played for the Vikings varsity soccer team as a midfielder, throws discus for the track team and became involved in many other extracurricular activities, including academic team, Catholic Youth Leaders, Student Senate, Recycling Club and Calling All Colors.
Barnett said his senior year is going well. He’s looking forward to college and figuring out what he wants to do with his life. “Although I have a plan for medical school, I know that anything can change and I might find something better,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to go into, but I’m just ready for the experiences and to learn and grow.”
By: Kelly Farrell