Teens Spend their Summer Searching for Cancer Cure | HundrED Pittsburgh Spotlight

Teens Spend their Summer Searching for Cancer Cure | HundrED Pittsburgh Spotlight


Through middle school and elementary school, I really liked math. I would join math team or math club and oftentimes I’d be the only girl. It was sometimes, you know, scary or difficult
because I felt out of place or like I didn’t belong. and the thing that’s really nice about
the Hillman Academy is that you walk into a very diverse room of lots of
different people who come from all over. Everyone is unique and different, but you also see people that you have a lot in common. The Hillman Academy is an
eight-week summer research internship where we provide mentorship
to students from diverse backgrounds at a world-class University in a world-class Hospital and one of the few NCI-designated
comprehensive cancer centers in the country. They’re here for eight weeks.
They work in the lab nine to five. It’s not a canned experiment for
a high school student to do and we know the result. Instead they’re working on cutting-edge questions,
the same that their mentors are. The best thing about the Hillman Cancer Academy
has been the mentorship. I have gotten a chance to see
what real passion looks like. I’ve learned that if I’m passionate
about what I’m doing, I’ll be doing my best job at that. They go in there and they, you know, they think
“Yes, I can do this. I can, you know, change the world.” I think we can teach them that you should
never say something is not possible. There’s always a way to do something,
if you have a passion. We guarantee that at least 40% of our students
will be from underrepresented backgrounds. We’re trying to make sure
that everyone has the opportunity and knows that these types of careers exist
that knows that they can do them. That scientists are just like them. You get one idea in your head that
there is one type of scientist. But then you come to the Hillman Academy
and your mentors the other scholars the people that you interact with are very diverse and there are people that look like me and you’re like “If they can do it I can do it, too.” We want the biomedical research workforce, we want clinicians, we want researchers to look like everyone so that everyone will be thought about whenever we’re designing new drugs when we’re thinking about afflictions
that affect all populations, instead of just in majority group populations. There are research institutions
in every major city across the country. If every program could take 30 or 40
students from underrepresented backgrounds, I think it’s a really an opportunity to
expose those students and to really change the courses of their lives,
but also the course of research in general. I think it’s great for everyone. It’s great for
the institutions. It’s great for the labs. And hopefully it’s good for the students too.

One thought on “Teens Spend their Summer Searching for Cancer Cure | HundrED Pittsburgh Spotlight

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *