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“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs

OrthoCarolina Research Institute (OCRI) participates in the “Exploring Program” each year organized by The Boy Scouts of America to give high school students in the Charlotte Mecklenburg County School District an idea of what happens “behind the curtain” in the healthcare industry.

The Exploring Program is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and organizations in local communities to ultimately help students find their passion. Its mission is to use character-building experiences and mentorship allowing youth to achieve their full potential in both life and work through different career fields such as business, communication, engineering, law enforcement, sciences and more.

OrthoCarolina typically receives 500 students through the Exploring Program who have indicated an interest in medicine or healthcare. 60 students are chosen for the program on a first come, first serve basis.

“This program presents students with a more realistic view than what they see on TV – it’s more about educating them on the real day to day duties that medical professionals experience without the fluff,” says Ben Connell, Senior Clinical Research Coordinator for OCRI and leader of the Exploring Program.

Students are able to register annually in September and the full program lasts from October to May with meetings on the second Thursday of each month. During monthly meetings, OrthoCarolina physicians, physician assistants and physical therapists volunteer their time to present a program on their specific career paths, answer questions and give the students a full hands-on “real-world” experience. The providers talk about subspecialties, what goes on behind the scenes and the ins and outs of their medical day-to-day practice. Most students find the Exploring Program to be not only a great way to discover their passion and get a “sneak peek” into a career path they may be interested in but also a chance to build their academic resumes and ultimately gain tools they can take into their next chapter of life.

OrthoCarolina began participating in this program in 2004 and still continues to teach high school students about career paths in healthcare. In 2014, OCRI won the William H. Spurgeon, III Award for "highest recognition for individuals and organizations contributing significant leadership to the Exploring program" among thousands of local, regional and national businesses representing hundreds of different career fields. OCRI hopes to continue this success for years to come thanks to the Boy Scouts of America and the Exploring Program.

To find out more, visit to see how you can get involved.

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