Over the summer, Stevenson High School student Alex Arshavsky had the chance to take part in one of National University of Health Sciences’ latest research projects.
The internship was part of the high school’s SPARK program for exceptional students interested in pursuing careers related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) research.
For seven weeks, Arshavsky worked in the NUHS Research Department alongside Jocelyn Faydenko, ND, DC, a NUHS research resident, on the crepitus research project. The project hypothesizes that increased joint sounds (crepitus) are associated with decreased joint mobility and that spinal manipulation therapy may be a useful indication of changes in joint mobility and joint stiffness.
“The program gives the interns hands-on experience in research, including planning, budgeting, grant writing, the review process, data collection, analysis, and presentation of results,” said Dr. Faydenko, who served as Arshavsky’s advisor. “Understanding these processes helps STEM students appreciate the practical aspects of the scientific process, which will be valuable if they pursue a career in science.”
Arshavsky has plans to become a doctor and pursue research in college and beyond. In addition to the research process, the internship at NUHS also exposed Arshavsky to a good deal of anatomy for the first time.
“Something that surprised me was how many attempts research can take and how long it lasts,” she said. “It’s interesting to see that sometimes it takes years to achieve results and reach conclusions.”
Her favorite part of the internship was being an observer for the study.
“It was nice to have my observations included in my data table and I loved learning how to use the program and analyze the crepitus recordings,” she said.
Gregory Cramer, DC, PhD, Dean of the NUHS Research Department, added that the internship was rewarding and fun for internship advisors, too.
“In this case, working with a very bright and highly motivated high school senior provided us with a better understanding of our future students,” he said.
After the internship, Arshavsky presented a scientific poster about the research project at her high school during the SPARK Research Symposium Oct. 6.
In the future, the NUHS Research Department is looking forward to working with more students through the SPARK program.