Russell Perkins admits that he thinks kids are a lot cooler, funnier, and more entertaining to talk to than adults.
This is part of why the psychology, pre-med major plans to pursue a career in pediatrics after his May 2021 graduation from the University of Oklahoma. Perkins is currently applying to one-year, gap-year clinical research positions at some of the top children’s hospitals in the nation. Then, he plans to hopefully start medical school in the fall of 2022.
Perkins realized his interest in working with children through an internship program at Broken Arrow High School. During his senior year, he participated in Career Exploration Programs, which partnered students with local businesses. Participants were placed in a variety of fields, and Perkins chose child psychology. Then in college, Perkins shadowed a couple of pediatricians, a child psychiatrist, and a pediatric cardiologist, which is the area he wants to enter in the future.
Those opportunities, along with time spent volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club of Norman, helped Perkins realize his future career path.
“With the shadowing and the high school experience and also with community service and community outreach things that I do, I knew kids were the future that I wanted to work with,” Perkins explained. “I think when you grow and you mold kids into being good people and productive people and kind people, there's really no stopping any of them.”
Since his freshman year, Perkins has volunteered one day a week at the Boys & Girls Club. That first year, he was paired with a fifth grader in the mentorship program and spent his time with that student doing things like completing homework, playing basketball, or watching movies. Perkins said the setup is different now due to COVID-19, but he still hangs out with the children and aims to encourage them and be a good role model.