Research Program Gives High School Students the Opportunity to Work Next to Researchers at Nationwide Childrens Hospital

September 1, 2011

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:

  • Ben Kompa
  • Shannon Moyer
  • Alexis Dunning
  • Matthew Hadad
  • 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.

Student applications are reviewed by a panel of researchers and physicians at Nationwide Children’s. Most student applicants have an average 4.12 GPA. Past participants of the program have continued their education at Ivy League Institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Yale.

Note to the Editor:
Ben Kompa resides in zip code, 43212.
Shahana Prakash resides in zip code, 43235.
Shannon Moyer resides in zip code, 43017.
Alexis Dunning resides in zip code, 43065.
Matthew Hadad resides in zip code, 43016.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at