STEP Reflection

What I Did During My STEP Experience

I took part in the Chester Summer Scholar program at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Through this opportunity, I spent ten weeks in a laboratory research setting. I was assigned to a MetroHealth medical staff researcher who developed a project, taught me laboratory techniques, and supervised my progress. The purpose of my research was to elucidate the mechanisms that cause fetal membrane weakening and rupturing.  Biochemical tests were performed on the fetal membranes along with testing the rupture strength of each of them. Tissue lysates from the choriodecidua were tested for MMP-2 and MMP-9 by zymography. The presence of  GM-CSF and GM-CSFRα were tested  by means of western blotting. Results showed that the weaker FM fragments contained higher amounts of MMP-2, MMP-9, Integrin αX,  and GM-CSFRα. I found that the fetal membranes from human term breech fetal membranes were stronger than those from human term cephalic fetal membranes. A better understanding of the fetal membrane weakening process will hopefully lead to the prevention of preterm premature rupture of membranes, which is a major cause of infant morbidity and mortality. In addition to working on my research project, I also observed surgery and hospital rounds at MetroHealth. I observed surgeries in neurology, obstetrics, orthopedics, ENT, and cardiology. I took an active part in an autopsy  and visited Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. During the summer I also took many ballet classes from Ana Lobe Ballet Academy and salsa lessons from Latin Soul and Ballroom.

My Response to My Experience

I really enjoyed my time as a Chester Summer Scholar. It was the first time I took part in research and it was exciting to have the opportunity to learn and perform laboratory procedures like zymography and western blotting. I am amazed at the amount of surgeries I viewed this summer. Before I stepped foot into the operating room, I did not know how I would react to the procedures being performed. Instead of being scared and disgusted, I was fascinated and excited to learn from the surgeons. After this experience I realized that I want to go to medical school and specialize to become a surgeon or anesthesiologist. In addition to observing surgeries, I took part in an autopsy. This was my first time working with a cadaver. It was neat to see how all the organs fit together and apply what I learned from anatomy classes.

In addition to my science based internship, I also explored my artistic and athletic side this summer. Through training with Ana lobe and Marden Ramos, I improved my ballet technique and learned two classical variations. Latin ballroom classes were very different from what I expected. The technique seemed opposite of ballet technique because of the bent knees and relaxed upper body positions. Although it was different, it was still fun to learn something new.

How My Experience Will Affect My Goals Moving Forward

My experience as a Chester Summer Scholar made me certain that a career as a physician will be one that I enjoy. I also intend on working in the operating room as a surgeon or anesthesiologists because of this experience. This exposure to research should help me obtain a research position to continue undergraduate research this year at Ohio State.  I plan on continuing my research with my mentor at MetroHealth next summer. There were a lot of new medical terms and procedures that I was introduced to this summer that I may come across again in my courses. It will be neat to have already had first hand experiences on course subject material.

Although I am not pursuing a career in dance, my training has taught me about discipline, artistry, musicality, and athleticism. Ballet makes me more well rounded and may help me relate to other people.