Selected Illinois students are trading in their bathing suit and sun block for a lab coat and test tubes. One local junior, Mark Rizko, attending Nazareth Academy High School, will spend his summer conducting cancer research. Interested in pursuing a career in science, Rizko will get an early start with the American Cancer Society’s Summer High School Research Program. The Society’s Illinois Division gives a diverse group of high school students the chance to spend eight weeks working with cancer experts in the state’s top research facilities. Of the hundreds of applicants, only 34 high school juniors were chosen to intern this summer with society-funded researchers and assist in hands-on work. Rizko has a love for biochemistry and hopes to major in organic chemistry. Rizko has also had several family members affected by cancer and is looking forward to potentially discovering pharmaceutical cures.
During the research program, students are assigned an individual, limited and achievable project to research four days per week. On the fifth day, students typically attend lectures and present updates of their research. At the end of the summer, students will also present a collective report of their overall findings. For more than 60 years, the American Cancer Society has funded research and training of health professionals to investigate the causes, prevention, and early detection of cancer, as well as new treatments, cancer survivorship, and end of life support for patients and their families. To learn more about the American Cancer Society, call 800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.