Meet Janeth Morales, a fourth-year student at Roosevelt High School. We talked with her about how the Medical and Health Science pathway created a life-changing interest in the field, her recent honor as a 2023 Linked Learning Student of the Year, and the plans she has for the future.
Janeth Morales was a first-year student at Roosevelt High School when she took a class that would change the course of her high school career.
“I took a class called Biomedical Sciences,” Morales says. “We got to learn about autopsies, DNA, and cells. Even though it was through Zoom, it really pulled my interest.” It was that interest that led her to choose the Medical and Health Science pathway during her sophomore year.
The pathway program supports personally relevant, engaging, and inclusive experiences for students, exposing them to real-world and often previously unimagined college and career activities. The school offers three pathways – Law & Public Service, STEAM, and Medical and Health Science – which offer students experience internships, apprenticeships, and professional training programs in their chosen area of study, preparing them for a successful entry into the workplace and post-secondary education.
For Morales, the best part of the Medical and Health Science pathway is the learning, “It’s a lot of hands-on activities,” she says. “I get to learn about specific things in the medical field which I didn’t even know existed–it just excites me.” For one project, Morales and her classmates made model organs out of clay and placed them in mannequins to learn about where they’re located in the human body. “It was really good working with my friends,” she says. “It’s fun, but you’re learning at the same time.”
Another highlight of Morales’s pathway and coursework is that she gets to meet people who have impacted the medical field. “Being able to meet USC engineering scientists, learning about stem cells, regenerative medicine…it’s mind-blowing to me,” she says. Morales also got to meet Dr. Carolyn Meltzer, MD, Dean of the USC Keck School of Medicine. “That was an honor,” she says.
Morales received an honor herself recently when she learned that she was one of eight students selected to receive the 2023 Linked Learning Alliance Student of the Year award. These awards are for students who have made meaningful contributions to their schools and communities through their Linked Learning pathway experience.
She had been nominated for the award by her biotechnology instructor, Ms. Rekha Prakash. When Ms. Prakash pulled her out of class to let her know she had won, Morales was shocked. “It just felt amazing because it’s a rare thing. I honestly never pictured myself in this position, and the chance that this happened is incredible.” She especially loved having the support of her friends and family, especially her three older siblings. “They told me to continue to do what I was doing; that I could accomplish anything that I want as long as I try.”
As far as next steps in her medical journey, Morales has her sights set on either UCLA or the University of California, Irvine, where she plans to study nursing. “I want to become a labor and delivery nurse,” she says. Sounds like she’ll have some knowledge that will come in handy.