WHS student scientists recognized in Cleveland Clinic intern program

Maahi Mistry, Laura McDiarmid, Christopher Slater

Three Westlake High School student researchers participated in Cleveland Clinic’s Science Internship Program.

Through the program, students gain experiences in healthcare fields and careers, cultivate their 21st century skillset through hands-on learning opportunities, and find practical, real-world applications for their academic knowledge. The 2015 Science Internship Program included 64 high school juniors and seniors form 42 different high schools across Northeast Ohio.

WHS junior Christopher Slater, senior Maahi Mistry and 2015 graduate Laura McDiarmid participated in the Translational Medicine, Public Health and Creating Learning internships, respectively.

Maahi worked with the Cleveland Clinic Department of Government and Community Relations on the topic “Fostering Healthy Futures: An Evaluation of a Wellness Curriculum for Youth.” Healthy Futures is a health and wellness curriculum created by the Cleveland Clinic and taught in schools and community organizations throughout Greater Cleveland. Maahi performed an analysis to assess the effectiveness of the program. She found the program increased awareness about the interconnectedness of the body’s mental, physical and spiritual well-being and was successful in educating youth on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

Christopher worked with the Cleveland Clinic Department of Neurological Surgery on the topic “Choroid Plexus Carcinoma (CPC): Model Development, Characterization, and Targeted Drug Therapies.” Choroid plexus tumors are rare cancers accounting for 2 percent to 4 percent of all brain tumors found in children less than 15 years old. His project successfully developed a CPC model, identified genetic and molecular differences between primary, recurrent and xenograft specimens, and provided potential drug targets that may be used independently or in combination with current therapies for the management of CPC. Christopher’s work is part of a larger study still in progress.

Laura participated in the Creative Learning internship track to design, develop and execute strategies for sharing groundbreaking medical research and important health information with the community at large. Laura was in the “Science Investigations: Fact or Fiction?” and “Science Investigations: Bioethics” programs. Fact or Fiction uses the scientific method to engage students in proving or disproving common healthcare beliefs. Her group’s topic was “Color-Coding Helps You Remember.” They concluded that using color increases recognition and recall of objects and words, and stimulates ore of the brain than black and white. The Bioethics topic was “Biotech Ethics: Is Manipulating Genes & Cells A Slippery Slope?” that looked at genetic manipulation, cloning, cell manipulation, the history behind manipulation, current policies, and pros and cons.

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Volume 7, Issue 20, Posted 10:02 AM, 10.20.2015