The Collector Store

Autumn Schrader and Selena Wang are Being Mentored at SLU

Mentoring in Medication


Credit to Kamryn Bell

Senior Autumn Schrader talks to senior Selena Wang as they work together in their Biomed class. They both worked together to enter samples they previously took around the school. Schrader and Wang went to their first meeting about SLU on Nov. 27.

By Ashlynn Perez, North Star Sports Editor

Seniors Autumn Schrader and Selena Wang have entered their last semester in the Project Lead The Way program (PLTW), along with the other students they have walked with for four years. They have studied everything from the basics of microscopes to actual medical intervention in a series of classes: Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, and Medical Interventions.

Their final medical class at FHN, Biomedical Innovations, is providing a unique opportunity for Schrader and Wang. The two girls are currently being mentored at SLU by Rajeev Aurora, a research immunologist for the Doisy Research Center for Immunology. This is part of a year-long independent research project, where they are given the opportunity to research a topic and use it in a hands-on environment.

“It’s a cool project,” Schrader said. “You get real results and real information.”

As part of the class, Schrader and Wang had to find their mentor by themselves. Using SLU’s research facility, they were able to contact Aurora with information about their research on the effects of vaping compared to the effects of cigarettes in saliva. They are learning about DNA primers and the coding for them. Aurora responded with an email expressing his interest in their research, and so he agreed to become their mentor. He has since opened his lab to Schrader and Wang, guiding them in their experiments and tests.

“It was difficult to to keep contact over email since we were both so busy,” Wang said. “We had to set up a meeting where he was able to fully understand our research project and provide his critiques.”

Aurora takes Schrader and Wang through his lab, and in addition to helping them with their research, he keeps them up to date with what he is working on. Aurora’s responsibilities as a mentor include helping his mentees design experiments and collect appropriate sambles, provide laboratory space and protocol for the proposed experiment and to help them interpret the data and results.

“With an aging population, healthcare has an enormous impact on the economy, and also on quality of life,” Aurora said. “It is important for high school students to think about healthcare as they make lifestyle and career choices.”

Throughout four years of PLTW classes, the girls have learned a number of skills applicable in the medical field, but also in everyday life, such as talking to people they don’t normally talk to and communication. Schrader and Wang hope to use these skills after high school, both in college and the careers that lay beyond.

“I have  been with theall of the same people in these classes for all four years of high school,” Schrader said. “And I learn something new every day; not only from all of the classes, but from all of the people.”