Alexandrea Johnson prepares to study in Spain this summer

Babies have always fascinated Alexandrea Johnson, a freshman and biology/pre-medicine major at Alcorn State University. For her, caring for little ones has been a desire of hers since a young age thanks to the encouragement of a close family member.

"I love babies, and I've always wanted to work with them," said Johnson. "My aunt informed me that becoming a neonatologist would suit me perfectly because I only want to work with babies. I have a passion for babies because they are so precious and innocent. They are the future of the world, and I'm willing to do whatever I can to help save their lives."

This summer, Johnson will set out on not only pursuing her dream but also experiencing another culture as she prepares to study abroad in Portugal, Spain. Johnson will be studying abroad through Atlantis Global, a program that seeks the advancement of students who are interested in practicing medicine. She's excited about the experience.

"It feels incredible to have been accepted into such a positive and productive program that is designed to help students that are seeking work in the medical field. Seeing the world from a different perspective and adopting a different culture is what inspired me to study abroad. I truly believe that life is much bigger than Mississippi, and there are so many great opportunities that are waiting for me outside of the state and country."

Learning from some of the best neonatologists is something that Johnson is excited about.

"I'm really looking forward to shadowing seasoned neonatologists while they operate on patients. I'm especially excited to work alongside them in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Seeing their day-to-day responsibilities will show me how rigorous the job really is. I find that to be a great opportunity for me."

Spending time in Spain will increase Johnson's awareness in the hospital room and around babies. She believes her experience will enrich her academically and professionally.

"I think studying abroad in Spain will help to better prepare me for courses that I will take during my undergraduate years. This opportunity will definitely be beneficial when I take courses in medical school because it will give me a preview of what's coming. Professionally, studying in Spain will provide me with hands-on experience in handling medicine and taking care of patients on my own."

Despite being in the development stages of her journey, Johnson has already set goals for her professional career. She's eager to learn all that she can to ensure her success.

"Finding methods that would lead to making premature babies healthier and developing ways to decrease the number of premature births is what I plan to accomplish once I become a neonatologist."