Seniors checking up on the medical field

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Elisabeth Hall ’18

Elisabeth Hall ’18

Seniors Stephanie Comer and Ava Vanech plan to extend their passions for the medical field as they leave for college and major in Nursing and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
Stephanie will be major in Nursing for the first two years of her college experience at the State University of New York in Buffalo. While pursuing this major, Stephanie hopes to receive the opportunity to understand more aspects of patient care and clinical training.
Stephanie believes that because a nurse spends more time with a patient than the doctor does, the patient feels closer to his or her designated nurse. This relationship not only makes the patient more comfortable, but it can also lead to progress in the patient’s recovery.
“I think that nurses have the ability to really connect with their patients since nurses spend the most time with them, and part of getting better is thinking that you are getting better,” Stephanie said.
Due to her compassion for others, Stephanie hopes to use her experience in the nursing field to achieve her occupational goal: to become a neonatal doctor. Neonatal doctors are pediatricians who specialize in babies born prematurely or with medical issues that need specific care.
Stephanie states that her Science Research class at Sacred Heart has provided her with the opportunity to learn more about the processes of how drugs and medication affect the human body. In addition, Stephanie took Biology both her junior and senior year, furthering her interest in the medical field.
Senior Ava Vanech will also be pursuing a vocation in the medical field by majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University. This major includes courses such as Molecular and Cell Biology, along with Ava’s more dominant interests in Neurobiology, Epigenetics, and Immunity and Contagion.
Apart from these foundational classes, Ava also plans on beginning independent research for credit during her junior year in college. As a junior, Ava will be able to focus on her specific areas of interest within biology. Ava plans to use this opportunity and the resources her university provides.

“I’m most interested in neurology and pediatrics so I’ll probably try to find a lab that focuses on either one or both of those fields, but I’m definitely open to doing research on another area of biology depending on if something else sparks my interest in my classes,” Ava said.

Ava has been interested in science since she was little. However, the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology and Science Research classes at Sacred Heart deepened her passion for biology and medicine. Over the summer, Ava personally worked with premedical studies undergraduates and medical school students in the Blumenfeld Lab at the Yale School of Medicine. At this program, Ava completed research on Childhood Absence Epilepsy.
According to Ava, the main goal of the program was to better understand the physiological mechanisms behind seizure severity. In the program, Ava specifically collected and analyzed data from rats who had absence epilepsy looked at how blood flow and neuronal activity changed based on the severity of their seizures. Ultimately, it was this mission, along with the passion and excitement of her peers at the lab, that confirmed Ava’s decision to pursue the field.
Ava hopes to use her major to develop her career as a doctor in either the pediatric or neurological field and hopes to uncover new interests and passions.
In addition, she encourages all Sacred Heart students to take a leap of faith and further investigate the subjects that they feel most connected with during their time in high school.
“A lot of people might be intimidated by the medical field or even science in general, but I think everyone should consider it because it’s such an exciting and rewarding area to study,” Ava said. “It’s constantly evolving, so there are always new things to discover and improve, and most importantly, it’s an amazing way to give back to others and make a positive change in the world.”
– Elisabeth Hall, News and Photo Editor