Selah is a student at De La Salle North Catholic High School
Introduction by Shelby Suckow, PhD Translational Strategist at Due North Innovation:
Educating young people in the sciences is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I enjoy showing interns that science doesn’t have to be intimidating and that learning basic science can take you far, especially if you want to pursue a career in the biomedical science industry. You don’t have to live and breathe science to be able to enjoy great discoveries!
Reflections on the Corporate Work Study Program at Due North
Generally speaking, 15 year olds don’t have office jobs and if they do, those jobs are likely pretty standard: filing, scanning, printing, and so on. Working at Due North is different. I definitely do some of the more simple tasks like entering data or alphabetizing documents, but I’ve also been learning and doing research on stem cells. I can honestly say that stem cell research has never been on my list of interests. In fact, I didn’t have much knowledge about it before being introduced to the science at Due North.
One day during my research I came upon an article about creating liver buds from stem cells. The article went on to explain how the skin cells could be manipulated and transformed into liver buds and how those buds were scientifically proven to help repair the failing livers of mice. I didn’t know such a thing was even possible. With the help of a co-worker I was able to internalize the knowledge I gained and explain the complicated process of taking stem cells and fixing damaged livers to someone else who knew nothing about it. I enjoyed explaining a newfound interest to someone who had no knowledge of the topic – exactly the way I was when I first started. I would talk to my friends about their jobs and eagerly try to explain all the research I was working on at my own. They would nod and smile unsure why or how I was suddenly so interested in stem cells. They all know I normally don’t prefer science-related things so it was a surprise to hear me speak so enthusiastically about it.
Though science isn’t my favorite subject in school, the desire my co-workers have to engage me and see me learn is immense. The “learn and understand” type of environment forced me into a science research task that I now love. As I continue learning and participating on the stem cell project, my interest only increases. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn about such exciting and important things. I’m especially thankful for Dr. Shelby who takes the time to explain complex concepts and makes me feel like I am capable and have a lot to contribute to the team. I never go home without learning something new.