D211 Post: District 211 students explore the future of medicine


Dr. Stephen Grabowski MD (left) discusses the operations of the DaVinci Surgical System during a District 211 Career Trek.

            To help students better prepare for their futures beyond high school, career counselors arrange career treks where they can experience aspects of potential future careers.  Recently, about 50 students from across the District had the opportunity to explore the future of the medical field during a trek to AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates.

            During the nearly two-hour visit, students heard a brief history of surgical practices from Dr. Susan Scanlon, MD, MCMP of Midwest Center for Women’s Healthcare, followed by a demonstration of the DaVinci Surgical System by Dr. Stephen Grabowski, MD, Director of Robotics at St. Alexius Hospital.  After the demonstration, students were given the opportunity to try a variety of simulators, as well as learn how to suture and tie one-handed knots.

            “The goal of today is to inspire the students to choose a career in the field of medicine or technology,” said Dr. Scanlon.  “It’s a hands-on experience, so I think it is a lot more enlightening about what the work is than by just reading about it in a text book.”

            Schaumburg High School junior Madhav Bhatt said the chance to test the equipment helps him form his decision for career paths after high school.

Students from across District 211 had the opportunity to try out operating the DaVinci Surgical System during a Career Trek to St. Alexius Hospital.

            “I think this is a great opportunity to learn a lot more about the medical career field,” Bhatt said.  “Since next year is going to be a lot of college applications, I think it’s important to learn more about the field, and if it’s something I want to get into.”

            Getting an early look at medical technology is something that attracted William Fremd High School senior Cameryn Peknik about the field trip.

            “I think it’s really interesting to see how technology has evolved and expanded in the medical field, which is a necessity,” she said.  “It’s amazing that we have the opportunity to start learning it at a younger age, as opposed to waiting until medical school.  I’m excited to learn how to use this more in the future.”

William Fremd High School senior Cameryn Peknik (left) discusses career potential with Dr. Susan Scanlon MD during a District 211 Career Trek to St. Alexius Hospital.

            Dr. Grabowski said that learning about the medical robots is not necessarily just to inspire future medical students.

            “Most of the students that come here are in some sort of STEM program or some sort of science-based program with interest in medicine,” he said.  “I’ve had students come to these sessions who ultimately went into the engineering aspect.  They were intrigued with the robotics aspect of what we do.  They become the people behind the technology that I use.”

            For Tarun Velamoor, a sophomore at William Fremd High School, the field trip was more than just meeting with doctors and technology that inspired him to continue working to a future in medicine, it included a unique reunion.

            “Dr. Scanlon was the doctor who helped deliver me in 2004,” he said.  “It’s very interesting to see someone who helped give life to you.”