Two Proviso Math and Science Academy seniors helped improve the world of science during the summer as they did research at Stroger Hospital in Chicago.
Kiya Riley, 18, and Meagan Hughes, 18, spent their summer working on a biomedical internship at the Hektoen Institute of Medicine at Stroger Hospital. The Hektoen Institute serves as the research wing at the hospital.
Both girls found out about the opportunity from Ms. Amy Paulus, a PMSA counselor. To apply, both had to write a paper on how biomedical research affects the environment and get two letters of recommendation. For Meagan, who wants to be a wildlife biologist, the end result was worth the effort.
"I thought it would be a good idea to spend my summer with people who were involved in science," she said
Each worked 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., five days a week, at their respective jobs, at first observing doctors and researchers as they worked. In the second month of the internship, they worked on their own respective research projects, Meagan worked on the outward emotional behavior of rats, and Kiya worked on determining where granulation tissue regenerates and how it might be used in healing broken nerves and tissues.
"I based my experiment on where this tissue comes from," Kiya said. "We found it comes from monocytes, which are part of the immune system."
Kiya furthered her research by observing several surgeries on rats while collecting blood samples and completing blood smears to preparing the sample to be observed under a microscope. Meagan observed rats in a cage, doing experiments such as deprivation of food and sleep, and physical provocation.
"I learned a lot more about planning a research project," Meagan said. "I also learned patience so I could get in the right mindset."
Both students said that they believed the internship was a good experience. They said that it motivated them to continue studying and pushing toward their chosen career paths.
"I felt it opened my horizons on what’s out there career-wise," Kiya said. "I learned stuff I probably wouldn’t have touched until at least college."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that Kiya’s and Meagan’s experiences are examples of the opportunities that are available to students.
"One of our goals is preparing students for a future career and for college," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "With experiences such as this one at Stroger Hospital, our students get an idea of what is possible, and they are then motivated to work even harder in the classroom and out of school to prepare for that career."
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that Kiya and Meagan reflect what PMSA is about with their research analysis, critical thinking and development of the mind.
"Today's interns are tomorrow’s scientists," Dr. Karvelas said. "We nurture leaders. Kiya and Meagan clearly define the high expectations and quality work set forth at PMSA for every student that attends the school. We continue to be proud of our students’ accomplishments.