Many students have the dream of pursuing a career in the fields of science or medicine. Most of the time, students know exactly what kind of doctor or scientist they want to be, but they do not know the proper steps they should take to get closer to achieving their dreams. The Academy of Science and Medicine at Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS) is a career pathway program that allows students to gain experiences in the different fields of science and medicine, while exploring various careers available in these fields.
One of the largest opportunities the students that are part of the Academy have, is the ability to be involved in lunch presentations given by science or medical professionals. Lunch presentations are a 30-minute gathering of Academy students during their lunch time at school every Friday. The first presenter of the 2020-2021 year was one of the senior presidents of the Academy, Jaya Hamkins. Even though she only holds the occupation of a high school student, she had many experiences in the past year that she wanted to share with the members of the Academy.
On Friday September 4, 2020, Jaya gave her lunch presentation on “Adhesion Peptides” to over 130 Academy students over Zoom. She spoke of her project which targeted a cardiovascular disease called atherosclerosis. Jaya’s main focal point was finding which of the three known adhesion peptides could bind to atherosclerotic plaques. She explained that she was unable to conduct a wet lab as she had hoped due to high expenses, but was able to model the project on software. Even though she struggled to use the software at first, Jaya successfully completed her project and entered the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair in 2020. From her amazing work, she managed to win first place in her division of biochemistry and molecular biology. Not only that, she was chosen to represent LA County at the International Science and Engineering Fair 2020. Jaya said, “I was completely shocked when I first checked the results page on the LACSEF website. I was proud of what I had been able to accomplish with my project, but given that I had started from scratch and my project still has a long life ahead of it in terms of future development, I definitely did not expect to do as well as I did.”
Through Jaya’s fantastic experiences in her science research project, she was able to show and share her experiences with the members of the Academy. Other than describing the details of her project, Jaya wanted to encourage everyone to pursue the process of research. She explained that performing research pushes the mind to grow and teaches self-discipline. Jaya exclaimed, “Seeing the appreciation that the students all showed, and receiving emails afterwards from them about how they were inspired to pursue their own research projects made all of the hours that I put into the project more than worth it.”
The Academy has many more outstanding lunch presentations prepared for the rest of this distance learning semester, and hopes to inspire many students to pursue their dream careers.