Preparing high school students for careers in research

METEOR v HS students and Naomi Luban, M.D. at Children’s National the day of the poster session.
METEOR v HS students and Naomi Luban, M.D.
at Children’s National the day of the poster session.

On the afternoon of August 2, 2022, Children’s National Hospital hosted high school students from the District of Columbia for METEOR v HS poster sessions. METEOR v HS, which stands for Mentored Experience to Expand Opportunities in Research (Version High School), engages and supports high school students through a summer program. As part of the program, students are embedded into translational science laboratories and clinical and behavioral research focused on rare, and common, childhood diseases and disorders.

Through a mentored research experience, augmented with an inquiry-based curriculum, career and peer mentoring, college preparation and other experiences, the program’s goal is to engage students to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences and ensure that teachers translate their summer experience into actionable classroom improvements.

Over the years, students have been embedded with several mentorship teams including asthma, neonatology, diabetes, nursing, bioengineering, cardiology, hematology, trauma teams and more.

METEOR v HS students and their posters.
METEOR v HS students and their posters.

The 2022 Cohort

This year’s cohort of students included 11 students whose research varied from Zika virus effects on children in Nicaragua to the development of new surgical devices. Among these students was Imani Barnes, who joined the program because of her interest in pursuing a career in the medical field, as well as the opportunity to “tour different medical facilities and experience the day-to-day jobs and responsibilities of medical professionals.”

Kendall Washington, another student participant, had similar thoughts. She applied to the program because she was intrigued by the opportunity to begin training as a future medical professional, and is taking away lessons in challenging oneself and on building professional networks.

The program, let by principal investigator Naomi L.C. Luban, M.D., is funded through a NICHD grant, and is currently in need of additional funding to continue providing this life-changing experience to students.

“Participating in this program helped my academic and professional goals by exposing me to career paths that I would otherwise not consider,” said Adrianna Morton, a participant in the Summer 2022 cohort. “This program helped me expand my knowledge in the medical field by getting a more realistic idea of a life in modern medicine.”

METEOR v HS is just one of several training programs at Children’s National, part of our commitment to train and mentor the next generation of scientists and physician-investigators.