Junior Elsa Zhou conducted independent study
on cardiovascular medical devices
Heather Higdon, Director of Communications, Indian Hill Schools
INDIAN HILL, OH (October 27, 2021) – Indian Hill High School junior Elsa Zhou just completed an independent research project on cardiovascular medical devices under the mentorship of Dr. Sujata K. Bhatia, a professor at Harvard and the University of Delaware.
Zhou presented her findings at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) annual national conference held in Orlando. We wanted to find out more!
Indian Hill School District (IHSD): Congratulations, Elsa! What was the best part of conducting the research for you personally?
Elsa Zhou (EZ): Thank you! The most rewarding part of conducting research was, truthfully, the knowledge that I might actually be contributing to a broader cause with significant implications for people all across the country. It’s easy to sometimes feel that your coursework at school or extracurriculars aren’t building toward anything important, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In my presentation, I used knowledge that I learned in AP Stats last year with Mr. Siebenaller (quick shout-out!) and it was really so personally fulfilling to be able to use what I had learned in school to look into a deeper issue within our healthcare system as a nation.
(IHSD): Tell us about the experience in Orlando and what it meant to you to present at a professional, national forum.
(EZ): The conference in Orlando was a great learning experience. At the conference, there were constantly posters being presented along hallways from figures in academia and the pharmaceutical industry, and inside a large ballroom, and you could walk up to any person standing near a poster and ask for a presentation of their work.
The attendees and presenters ranged from high school age, like myself, to professors at universities, to those involved in the pharmaceutical industry. Since there were only nine other posters accepted into the conference as part of the high school poster competition (and as a result, only a handful of high school presenters), our little high school cohort got to know each other throughout the day as we attended other poster sessions and gatherings, including Universal Studios!
As for what I got from the experience of presenting and fielding questions that were asked afterward, I would definitely say that it was very helpful to have so many perspectives weighing in on the same material. Through discussion, I picked up quite a few more directions for future research based on questions people asked about how I could represent the data or look into other trends.
(IHSD): What was your favorite part of the experience?
(EZ): I really enjoyed presenting and hearing the questions afterwards. I’ve never done any sort of conference like this or even any science fair-type of event before, but it reminded me strongly of my AP Seminar IMP (Individual Multimedia Presentation) where I had to present my work and then answer a few oral defense questions. I think it was just hearing all these different opinions and great ideas that I’d never thought of before that cemented the presentation time as my favorite part of BMES.
(IHSD): What would you share with your peers to get them involved in opportunities like this, and what did you learn at Indian Hill High School that helped prepare you for the experience?
(EZ): I would say that Indian Hill does actually prepare you very well for research and this type of project. The two classes I feel were most helpful were AP Statistics and AP Seminar, since AP Statistics gave me the ability to examine trends in data and AP Seminar gave me a sense of how to properly research a topic and present it well. I would say if you’re interested in this type of project to just go for it. The prospect of doing research might seem intimidating, but it is completely doable with the skill set that you can gain at Indian Hill.
For more information, please visit www.indianhillschools.org.