For the past six years, a special group of high school students trade in their summer nights to research cancer and disease topics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Alongside researchers in The Research Institute, the Mechanisms of Human Health and Disease Program offers students a chance to take part in a fast-paced, in-depth program designed to challenge students interested in science who would like to pursue a career in medicine or medical research. At the end of the program, a top student is named and is awarded an internship of their choice the following summer.

Out of the 70 students who apply annually to this seven-week program, 20 students are accepted. Students then attend classes, once a week, and research a disease of their choice while compiling their findings into a research paper. During their classes, students meet with top researchers, physicians and professionals at Nationwide Children’s. At the end of the program, students present their papers to friends, family, teachers and researchers.

Each year, the top five students are recognized for their work inside The Research Institute. The top five students of the 2011 program include were Ben Kompa, Shannon Moyer, Alexis Dunning, Matthew Hadad, and Shahana Prakash.

“This year, we had some of the most talented students that I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Joe Schultz, course instructor of the Mechanisms of Human Health and Disease Program. “I was so impressed with their eagerness and enthusiasm to learn.”

This year, Ben Kompa, a junior at Upper Arlington High School, was named the top student of the program. Ben researched cystic fibrosis and will intern in the center of his choice next summer in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. Entering his junior year, Ben has already completed 10 Advanced Placement (AP) classes and is an AP National Scholar.

BioOhio applauds all of the participating students as well as Nationwide Children’s Hospital for offering such a valuable program.