Not many high school students would volunteer to spend their summer in the halls of a hospital, but for the past three years, Ashley Ramos ’16 has done just that, soaking up every chance she can find to prepare for her future career as a cardiologist.
Ashley’s interest in cardiology began during her freshman year of high school, and every summer since she has attended research programs from leading institutions like Columbia University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Last summer, she participated in the Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program, joining current medical students for lectures in anatomy and physiology, working in cadaver labs, and engaging in problem-based learning (PBL). One of Ashley’s favorite experiences was learning to apply the week’s lessons to actual organs, working hands-on with a human brain, a kidney, a liver, small and large intestines, and a heart over the course of the program.
Her summer work was the inspiration for Ashley’s Senior Project, for which she will be interviewing two male patients who successfully survived open-heart surgery and using their stories to craft PBL case studies in multimedia form. These case studies will be designed like those used by students in their first and second years of medical school.
Ashley is motivated by how her Senior Project fits in with her professional goals. “This project not only covers one of my biggest interests, but it is also helping me to build the critical thinking and patient interviewing skills necessary to succeed in medical school and my career,” she said.
“I think much of what makes Ashley an outstanding prospect for entering the medical field is her compassion and kindness,” said Brett Smith, Ashley’s academic advisor. “These qualities led Ashley to examine the experience of being a patient going through open heart surgery rather than merely focus on the science or procedure.”
“I had to conduct a lot of research to understand my patients’ conditions and to determine how to properly interview them about their medical history,” Ashley added, “but it has all been really insightful and a blast. Because of this project, I have a clear idea of what it takes to succeed in medical school, and I am excited.”