A unique and valuable learning experience for senior high school students

Dr. Donna Goldhawk, an imaging scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson), is providing a unique and valuable learning experience to senior high school students. Since 2009, she has accepted students to train in her hospital-based research laboratory at St. Joseph’s Health Care London in partnership with secondary schools in the Thames Valley region.

Dr. Goldhawk recruits students in partnership with the Partners in Experiential Learning (PEL) program. This unique academic co-op education program in London, Ontario identifies high school students interested in health research and prepares them for placement in a health research environment. The students earn senior high school credits and receive training in basic laboratory research.

student in Lawson lab


Originally conceived by Dr. Jim Koropatnick, a cancer scientist at Lawson, and Mr. Rodger Dusky, a retired secondary school teacher, PEL has been running successfully since 2004. It is a partnership between the Thames Valley District School Board, London District Catholic School Board, the Ontario Ministry of Education, Western University, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London. In Dr. Goldhawk’s experience, PEL attracts an excellent calibre of student who is eager to learn, aspiring to further education and capable of contributing to the science of molecular imaging.

Through the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), the Ministry of Research and Innovation also recognizes the value of attracting youth to the scientific enterprise and provides funding to support youth outreach. Dr. Goldhawk oversees one such initiative, approved under a grant entitled “Heart Failure: Prevention through Early Detection Using New Imaging Methods”. She works with PEL to attract summer students with an interest in molecular imaging.

Find the full story on the Lawson Reseach website >

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