Makenzie Detch wants to be a surgeon someday.
So when the Champlain Valley Union High School senior learned about the UVM Summer Academy course, Biomedical Science & Human Disease, she jumped at the chance to participate.
“Ever since I was in fourth grade, I’ve wanted to be a major organ surgeon, focusing on the heart, lung or brain. I like understanding how things work and I’m a perfectionist,” she says. “Surgery is something that gives you a feeling of success and that you’re making an impact.”
Detch, who plans to study biology and neuroscience in college, chose to enroll in the Summer Academy course last year to earn college credit and get a head start on her academic career.
A Health High School Program with Hands-on Learning
The course is part of UVM’s Summer Academy, a four-week residential and online program offered to high school juniors and seniors who want to explore areas of study and earn transferable college credit.
The three-credit course gives students the opportunity to expand on the knowledge learned in high school biology and chemistry. Students can also explore the biomedical sciences, including microbiology, immunology, molecular genetics, clinical biochemistry, and hematology.
“I loved it because it was such an interactive class. We learned all about proteins and the lectures were super fun,” she says. “I met so many students, and we all still talk every day. It was also great to earn college credit, live on campus and have a roommate.”
Students in the Biomedical Science & Human Disease course also investigate and solve cases related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Hands-on activities range from testing to identify pathological microorganisms from a wound sample to isolating and analyzing the chromosomes and DNA from normal and cancer cells.
Detch, an avid volleyball player, describes herself as enthusiastic, comical and ambitious. The summer before her sophomore year, she volunteered at a local animal hospital and assisted with surgery on cats. But her passion is really about helping people get healthy.
“I love the human body and its functions,” she says. “I want to be able to help save people’s loved ones.”