Diocesan News

Queens Teen Has Heart Set on a Medical Career

Gregory Nelson
Gregory Nelson

Gregory Nelson, parishioner of Christ the King, Springfield Gardens, will be representing his parish at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Mass.

The June 25-27 congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to go into medical fields. A sophomore at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, Gregory was nominated based on his academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine.

Described as a smart and responsible young man, Gregory has wanted to be a doctor since he can remember.

“I want to be able to help people. I want to be able to make people’s lives easier,” Gregory said.

His altruistic instincts extend to his parish and daily life. In 2015, he traveled to Nicaragua with the mission group from his church to help children with mental and physical disabilities, many of whom are abandoned. He and his group are already fundraising to go again in August. Gregory looks forward to seeing the kids and also to continue building classrooms for the children.

He was happy to find out that one of the children he met – who needed to crawl around or use crutches due to having a deformed leg – could now stand up straight.

“Maybe there is progress in other kids,” Gregory said.

Testament of His Hard Work

Gregory’s mother, Curlene, is happy he will attend the congress because it is a testimony of his constant hard work.

An A-student, Gregory has a unique interest in math and science. In eighth grade, he and his classmates won the best use of recycled materials award at the Cradle of Aviation Wind Turbine competition. He attended a weeklong STEM program at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He also plays basketball and fences at his school, all while maintaining a 3.85-weighted GPA.

Curlene remembers Gregory coming to her as a child and announcing that he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. She and her husband always make sure they are supporting Gregory in any way they can.

Meanwhile, he explains that his parents are his biggest motivation. “They push me really hard to be the best I can be,” he said.

Gregory has been active at his parish for the last few years, being an altar server, fundraising for parish activities and volunteering. He has also helped to feed and give out clothes to those who are homeless and hungry at shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“He is very active in the parish,” said Father Jeffry Dillon, pastor. During the mission trip down to Nicaragua, “he was very responsible, very mature.”

Father Dillon was happy to learn about Gregory’s medical aspirations.

Gregory looks forward to being a delegate to the congress, where he will hear experts talk about medical research, hear advice from top medical school deans, witness patients who are living medical miracles and learn about cutting-edge advances in medicine.

“Focused, bright and determined students like Gregory Nelson are our future and he deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give him,” said Richard Rossi, executive director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists.

While proud of the path Gregory is choosing, Curlene and her husband, Ian, are open to what God wants from him.

“Whatever is presented to him, we go after,” she said. “I would help him by the grace of God to get there.”